International Court of Justice
International Court of JusticeiStock

The United States told the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday that Israel should not be legally forced to withdraw from Judea and Samaria without security guarantees, AFP reports.

The ICJ is holding a week of hearings on Israel’s alleged “occupation” of Judea and Samaria after a request from the UN, with an unprecedented 52 countries giving their views on the issue.

"The court should not find that Israel is legally obligated to immediately and unconditionally withdraw from occupied territory," said Richard Visek, legal advisor at the US State Department, according to AFP.

"Any movement towards Israel withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza requires consideration of Israel's very real security needs," he argued.

"We were all reminded of those security needs on October 7," he said, referring to the Hamas attacks on Israel.

The UN has asked the ICJ to hand down an "advisory opinion" on the "legal consequences arising from the policies and practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem".

The court will probably deliver its opinion before the end of the year, but it is not binding on anyone.

Also speaking Wednesday, the representative from Egypt said the “occupation” was "a continued violation of international law".

The case is separate from the ICJ case brought forward by South Africa against Israel, accusing Israel of genocide during its current offensive in Gaza.

In that case, the ICJ recently ruled that Israel should do everything in its power to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza and allow in humanitarian aid. It did not, however, order Israel to end its military operation in Gaza.