Palestinians accuse Israel of ‘colonialism, apartheid’ at Court

Henry

The Palestinian foreign minister told the International Court of Justice in The Hague on Monday that his people are being subjected to “colonialism and apartheid” under Israel.

Minister Riyad Al-Maliki therefore asked the judges of the United Nations (UN) highest court to end Israel’s occupation of Palestine once and for all.

“The Palestinians endured colonialism and apartheid… There are those who are outraged by these words. They must be outraged by the reality we are suffering,” Al-Maliki told the court.

On Monday, the International Court of Justice began hearings on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. This occupation stretches back as far as 1967.

As many as 52 countries, including the United States, Russia and China, are expected to testify in the week-long trial in the Peace Palace in The Hague.

Palestine was the first to speak today.

“Justice delayed is justice denied and the Palestinian people have been denied justice for far too long,” argued Al-Maliki.

“It is time to put an end to the double standards that have held our people captive for too long.”

Al-Maliki further argued that “the genocide going on in Gaza is a result of decades of impunity and lack of action”.

“Ending Israel’s impunity is a moral, political and legal imperative,” he said.

The Palestinian UN envoy, Riyad Mansour, struggled to hold back tears as he pleaded for a “future where Palestinian children are treated as children and not as a demographic threat”.

Outside the court dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered.

“I really hope justice will prevail,” protest organizer Nadia Slimi told AFP.

“I really hope all the concerted efforts to pressure Israel to demand a more humane policy will eventually lead to some steps to free the Palestinian people.”

The UN General Assembly already asked the International Court of Justice in December 2022 for a non-binding “advisory opinion” on the “legal consequences arising from the policy and practices of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem”.

However, this week’s hearings are separate from South Africa’s high-profile case before the same court. In this case, South Africa accused Israel of having violated the UN Genocide Convention.

The General Assembly is asking the court to consider two issues: the legal consequences of what the UN describes as “Israel’s continued violation of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” and the consequences of what it describes as Israel’s “adoption of relatives discriminatory legislation and measures”.

According to the UN General Assembly, the court should advise on how Israel’s actions “affect the legal status of the occupation” and what the consequences are for the UN and other countries.