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Palestinian Foreign Minister at ICJ Hearing Stressed, Israel Seeks ‘the Complete Disappearance of Palestine’

The International Court of Justice took up Feb. 19 the request of the UN General Assembly for an Advisory Opinion on “Israeli practices affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People in the Occupied Territory, including East Jerusalem.” President of the ICJ Nawaf Salam opened the live presentations portion of the hearing today by first recognizing the Foreign Minister of the State of Palestine Riyad al-Maliki,who spoke.

The following contains some quotes and paraphrases of Mr. al-Maliki’s presentation.

“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.” 3.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank “are subjected to colonization of their territory and the racist violence that enables it. As 1.7 million Palestinians in Israel are treated as second class citizens.” He noted that 7 million Palestinian refugees living outside of Israel (e.g., Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, etc.) “continued to be denied their right to return to their land and homes.”

“For over a century, self-determination for the Palestinian people [has been] denied and violated.”

Al-Maliki reviewed that, prior to 1947-48, “there was life in Palestine, cultural, political. There were schools and universities … villages and communities.” As Al-Maliki spoke these words, pictures of life in Palestine were displayed in the courtroom.

Al-Maliki showed a page from the 1917 British Balfour Declaration, which said that “His Majesty’s government views with favor the establishment of a national home of the Jewish people…” and in the same sentence refers to Palestinians as “the existing non-Jewish communities.” To this he replied that only civil and religious life, but not political life was extended to Palestinians.

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