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October 7 and Israel’s date with the ICJ

EditorialOctober 7 and Israel’s date with the ICJ

Monday, February 19, 2024

The “Western” media has let us down again. The major news sources on international T.V. that most of us Belizeans listen to and watch, are not giving us the whole story, and we better get used to that fact. If it doesn’t suit their purposes, we can find ourselves in a big predicament as a nation, and the rest of the world would be none the wiser, if the true story is not told by the major news media. Of course, there are always many sides in any argument, but it is clear that the big news organizations (CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, etc.) have political or financial interests that result in them not sharing important information sometimes. And this ongoing debacle in the Middle East is one example. We have all been aware, since being bombarded with the nightly T.V. news of the atrocities taking place in Gaza since October 7, that at the end of December 2023, South Africa had brought a case of genocide against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). With all the spotlight on the destruction and death of innocents taking place for two months in Gaza, the South African case could not be avoided in the news. But, which of us knew that even before October 7, a major move was already afoot to take Israel before the ICJ on behalf of the Palestinian people?

What has been allowed to continue for years, decades, long before October 7, is a situation that the vast majority of countries in the United Nations have condemned with resolution after resolution, year after year, much as they have condemned the still continuing U.S. embargo against our sister Caribbean nation of Cuba, which the U.S. has unilaterally branded as a promoter of terrorism. But every resolution by the U.N. Security Council in favor of Cuba and a Palestine state has been defeated by the veto power of the United States.

With all the attention recently on the events following October 7, and the continuing slaughter of innocent Palestinian civilians including children and women, it is indeed surprising that important and relevant information from inside the U.N. has not been highlighted by our “Western” media. The so-called “fourth estate” has failed us, and it leads one to wonder where the line is drawn between the independent news media and the propaganda agencies of global world powers. It should not have been ignored as an important piece of international news, left to sit in the files of the U.N. rather than being blasted in the headlines of major news media, that the charge which was lodged back in 2022 was being finalized to take Israel before the International Court of Justice, a full month before the events of October 7.

Even before a militant Palestinian group named Hamas attacked and killed over a thousand Israeli citizens and took over a hundred hostages, Israel had already been condemned for its inhumane and illegal treatment of the occupied Palestinian people. What the extremist Hamas group did was their extreme reaction to conditions imposed upon the whole Palestinian people by the occupying forces of Israel. That has been well documented.

Here is some of what we have gleaned from the files of the U.N. at press.un.org.

As recently as August 30, 2023, a U.N. meeting of the “Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People” – 413TH MEETING (AM) (GA/PAL/1454) – declared that the “Case Before International Court of Justice Will Expose Israel’s Prolonged Illegal Policies.” In essence, that meeting condemned Israel’s actions as an occupying power, and apparently was in preparation “for the case being brought before the International Court of Justice that exposes Israel’s prolonged illegal practices and policies that deny the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination…” Therefore, Israel was already in the process of being taken before the ICJ, when their “unusually” lax security allowed some Hamas agents to launch an attack, the efficiency of which may have surprised them, and which they then used to justify the onslaught they have embarked on.

But, even before October 7, here are some of the U.N. Special Rapporteur’s observations:

“The current Israeli Government is the most extreme rightist Government in the history of the Governments of Israel…” “It includes fascist ministers considered by the Israeli legal system as promoting terrorism.”  

“Further, the current Government is expediting annexation, particularly to the majority area — the so-called Area C — which constitutes about 60 per cent of the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem…  Palestinians are facing the demolition of homes, displacement of families and threats against Masafer Yatta and other areas in the Occupied Territory, as well as against holy sites in occupied East Jerusalem, from extremist elements.”

He noted that the study highlights three peremptory norms that can determine if an occupation has become illegal, including whether the occupying Power has moved to annex any part of the occupied territory; whether that Power has breached the right to self-determination of the people under occupation; and whether that Power has instituted policies of discrimination or apartheid in the occupied territory. A breach of any of these norms would indicate that an occupation has become illegal; a breach of all three would be conclusive evidence of such illegality. The study concludes that Israel—as the occupying Power—”is in gross violation of all three of these norms and is, therefore, a bad-faith occupier”.

He also noted that the study finds many parallels between the situation in the State of Palestine today and South Africa’s apartheid rule over Namibia 50 years ago. Due to the illegality of its occupation, Israel is obliged to withdraw from the Occupied Palestinian Territory immediately, completely and unconditionally. Further, Israel is responsible for reparations. The international community must move away from the “land-for-peace” paradigm and towards Israel’s complete withdrawal to the 1967 lines. (Our underlining)

The Committee then approved its draft annual report for submission to the General Assembly, which was scheduled to be presented during its consideration of the “Question of Palestine” on 28 November.

Such was the situation at the end of August 2023. Of course, with the events following October 7, that date was pushed back to today, February 19.

According to ABP News Bureau on msn.com for Monday, February 19, 2024:

“The International Court of Justice in The Hague, on Monday, will begin the hearings on the legal consequences of Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Palestinian territories. Over 50 states are due to present their arguments before the judges during this period…

“Among the countries that will participate during the hearing are the United States – which is Israel’s strongest supporter, China, Russia, Egypt and South Africa. While Israel itself will not participate, it has sent over its written observations…

“In the 1967 war, Israel seized control of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem — regions of historic Palestine which the Palestinians aspire to have as a part of their own state. Although Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, along with neighbouring Egypt, it still controls its borders.”

The old Kriol saying that we need to “sleep wid wi own eye” was never more true, and as a people who know too well the importance of “self-determination”, we need to be careful in determining the difference between international propaganda and international news.

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