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Belize calls out Israel for “denying existence of Palestinians as a people”

Posted: Wednesday, February 21, 2024. 4:53 pm CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez:Hearings commenced on February 20, 2024, at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) into the situation with Israel and Palestine.

Fifty-two states and 3 organizations will present arguments on Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

The United Nations General Assembly passed a resultion to seek the ICJ’s take on this matter.

Belize presented on Tuesday and Belizean-Palestinian Assad Shoman, Professor Phillipa Webb, and Attorney Ben Juratowich presented those arguments.

Shoman called out Israel for violating the rights of Palestinians.

“First, the exclusion of Palestinians from any part of the Palestinian territory denies their right to territorial integrity which is an essential part of the right to self-determination. The Palestinian people have the right to self-determination within the entirety of their territory. Yet Israel has systematically removed and excluded Palestinians from parts of their territory, it has separated Gaza from the West Bank and prevented the free movement of Palestinians within the Palestinian territory. It has prohibited the return of Palestinians to their home and property and established exclusionary illegal settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”

“Second, Israel denies the existence of Palestinians as a people. The Israeli Minister of Finance, himself an illegal settler, has stated that there’s no such thing as a Palestinian people. Senior Israeli leaders routinely deny that the Palestinian people have a right to self-determination. Moreover, the case brought by South Africa, which Belize fully supports, lays bare the fact that Israel’s genocidal campaign in Gaza also denies Palestinians the right to exist at all. One key tactic in this regard is Israel deliberate use of starvation to destroy the civilian population of Gaza. Gaza’s entire population of more than 2 million people is in crisis facing the worse levels of acute food insecurity,” Shoman explained.

In addition, Shoman claimed that Israel is using forcible action to deprive the Palestinian people of their right to self-determination, freedom and complete independence.

“This includes the right of the Palestinian people freely to determine without external interference their political status and to pursue their economic, social and cultural development. Israel’s forcible action that denies the right to self-determination consists of institutional, coercive policies and practices that exert authority over and oppress the Palestinian people. These include the complete control exercised over Palestinian natural and economic resources, the institutionalized and racist apartheid and the systemic and excessive use of force, arbitrary killing and mass incarceration,” he added.

Shoman further called on Israel to “immediately, unconditionally, and totally withdraw from all of the Palestinian territory.”

Hearings continue through to February 26, 2024.

 

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