Editors’ note: This is the latest in Just Security’s weekly series keeping readers up to date on developments at the United Nations at the intersection of national security, human rights, and the rule of law.

ICJ Holds Final Day of Hearings on Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

An unprecedented 52 countries appeared over six days of hearings in  Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Though this case proceeds in the context of the ongoing Israel-Hamas War, it predates this renewed bout of violence and addresses not the specific crisis in Gaza, but Israel’s decades-long occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem.

Most countries sided with Palestine, arguing Israel’s occupation has long violated Palestinian rights under international law, including the right to self-determination. Israel, which protests the legitimacy of the proceedings, did not appear at the hearings, opting instead to reject questions raised as biased in a written submission.

The ICJ’s conclusions will be announced at a public hearing, but they will likely not come for at least six months.

U.S. Pushes for U.N. Security Council Action on Sudan 

On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield advocated for U.N. Security Council action to end the ongoing conflict in Sudan between the Sudanese army and paramilitary forces. She said that since war began last April, both parties have committed war crimes, and she condemned the Sudanese government for prohibiting aid delivery to the Darfur region through the neighboring country of Chad. 

U.N. Human Rights Developments in Gaza

U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food Michael Fakhri said that Israel is intentionally blocking aid and destroying means of procuring food in Gaza to intentionally starve the population in what is “clearly a war crime” and, in his view, creating “a situation of genocide.”

On Thursday, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk called for investigation into and accountability for violations of international humanitarian law and war crimes committed by “all parties” in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Mixed Reports on Ceasefire Talks, but Biden Hopes for Agreement by Monday

U.S. President Joe Biden said early this week that he hopes ongoing negotiations regarding the violence in Gaza will yield a ceasefire agreement “by… the end of the weekend.” Qatari and Egyptian delegations, acting as intermediaries for Hamas, met with senior U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials in Paris last Friday to discuss a ceasefire agreement tied to hostage releases. Last week, the United States vetoed a third U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, arguing the resolution threatened to disrupt these ongoing negotiations.

Though Biden announced that Israel agreed not to “engage in activities during Ramadan” to enable the transfer of hostages for Palestinian prisoners, Hamas officials claim they have not received “any new proposals,” and will continue to insist on terms for a long-term ceasefire.

Sixth United Nations Environment Assembly Draws to a Close

The sixth session of the U.N. Environmental Assembly (UNEA-6) will conclude its proceedings today in Nairobi, Kenya. During the weeklong meeting, States have called for inclusive and cooperative approaches to the issues of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.