Palestinian foreign minister tells ICJ of ‘besieged, bombed and killed’ Gazans

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Today's open letter on Gaza in The Post to NZ Prime Minister Christopher Luxon
Today's news media open letter to NZ Prime Minister Christopher Luxon urging New Zealand to join the South African case against Israel under the Genocide Convention. Image: PSNA screenshot APR

Asia Pacific Report

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki began his address to the week-long “historic” International Court of Justice hearings into the status of the people and state of Palestine in the Hague saying it was an “honour and great responsibility”.

“I stand before you as 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza — half of them children — are besieged and bombed, killed and maimed, starved and displaced,” he told the court.

“As more than 3.5 million Palestinians in West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are subjected to colonisation of their territory and the racist violence that enables it,” he added.

“As 1.7 million Palestinians in Israel are treated as second-class citizens . . .  in their ancestral land,” he said, reports Al Jazeera.

“As seven million Palestine refugees continue to be denied the right to return to their land and homes.”

An unprecedented 52 countries and three international organisations are scheduled to give evidence — 50 in support plus the international groups. Only Fiji and the United States are opposed to Palestine self-determination.

Five maps of ‘destruction’
The foreign minister showed five maps to the court which he said demonstrated the ongoing “destruction of the Palestinian people”.

The first map showed historic Palestine — the territory he said over which the Palestinian people should have been able to exercise their right to self-determination.

A second map showed the 1947 UN Partition Map, which ignored the will of Palestinians, said al-Maliki.

The third map shows three-fourths of historic Palestine becoming Israel over 1948-1967.

“From the first day of its occupation Israel started colonising and annexing the land with the aim of making its occupation of irreversible,” he said.

The fifth map was one presented by Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly which he described as portraying “the new Middle East”.

Al-Maliki added: “There is no Palestine at all on this map, only Israel comprised of all the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”

End ‘brutal’ occupation
Meanwhile, Amnesty International has issued a statement saying Israel must end its “brutal” occupation of Palestine — including Gaza, the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem — “to stop fuelling apartheid and systematic human rights violations”.

Agnes Callamard, the rights group’s secretary-general, said Israel’s occupation of Palestine had been characterised “by widespread and systematic human rights violations against Palestinians”.

“The occupation has also enabled and entrenched Israel’s system of apartheid imposed on Palestinians,” Callamard added, noting that the occupation had over the years “evolved into a perpetual occupation in flagrant violation of international law”.

“Israel’s occupation of Palestine is the longest and one of the most deadly military occupations in the world,” she said.

“For decades it has been characterised by widespread and systematic human rights violations against Palestinians. The occupation has also enabled and entrenched Israel’s system of apartheid imposed on Palestinians.”

‘Join South Africa’ plea to Luxon
In New Zealand, a full page advertisement in news media presented an open letter to Prime Minister Christopher Luxon urging the NZ government join the South African case against Israel under the Genocide Convention.

Sponsored by the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa (PSNA), the letter in The Post declared that it agreed with the government that a military occupation into Rafah “would be ‘catastrophic’ with appalling humanitarian consequences”.

It urged the NZ government to join South Africa’s urgent request to the ICJ to “end Israel’s attacks on Rafah”.

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