Palestinian Minister Informs ICJ Of Israel's Illegal Occupation, Apartheid

More than 29,195 Palestinians have been killed and 69,170 injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7.

Palestinian Minister Informs ICJ Of Israel's Illegal Occupation, Apartheid

The Palestinian foreign minister has accused Israel of "colonialism and apartheid" at a World Court hearing on Israel's control of Palestinian territory since 1967. 

"For over a century, the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination has been denied and violated," Riyad al-Maliki told a panel of judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN's top court, in The Hague. "Palestine was not a place without inhabitants. It was not, as Israeli leaders have claimed, a wasteland. There was life on this land. 

He was presenting the Palestinian case at the outset of a week of hearings mandated by a UN General Assembly decision in 2022.

Within the next several months, the judges are scheduled to provide the assembly with a non-binding judgment of how Israeli policies of Jewish settlement and annexation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem "affect the legal status of the occupation" and their implications for the rest of the world. 

The proceedings are different from the case launched before the ICJ by South Africa in January under the Genocide Convention, in which the court was asked to order a cease-fire in Gaza.

In that case, the court did not grant the plea but instead ordered "provisional measures" on January 26th, urging Israel to reduce its military activities and provide humanitarian help to trapped Palestinians. Although the sanctions are legally obligatory, they have had little impact on Israel's military assault in Gaza. 

In Monday’s hearing, Maliki illustrated his presentation with five maps, showing the dramatic erosion of Palestinian territory from the land established as Palestine under a League of Nations mandate in 1920.

The maps depicted the territory’s proposed partition under a failed 1947 UN plan, its reduction to the West Bank and Gaza after the 1948 war that led to the creation of Israel, and the fragments of Palestinian-run areas in the West Bank left by 2020, after decades of Jewish settlement. 

Finally, a photo was presented of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing the UN General Assembly last September, holding up a map of the "new" Middle East, in which all remnants of Palestinian land had been obliterated.

"There is no Palestine at all on this map, only Israel, comprised of all the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea," Maliki said at the hearing. "This demonstrates what the long-term, ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine is meant to achieve: the utter disappearance of Palestine and the elimination of the Palestinian people,” he added.

It is pertinent to mention here that a total of 29,195 Palestinians have been confirmed killed and 69,170 injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7, according to the health ministry in the besieged enclave.