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Palesinians’ use of force to resist occupation is legal, not terrorism, China tells ICJ

February 22, 2024 at 9:01 am

A view of giant screen showing Nelson Mandela’s quote as people, holding Palestinian flags, gather outside the International Court of Justice during the session on the day the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rule on Gaza genocide case against Israel made by South Africa in the Hague, the Netherlands on January 26, 2024. [Nikos Oikonomou – Anadolu Agency]

Palestinians have a right “to use force and resist foreign oppression” in order to establish an independent state as they are under occupation, China’s Foreign Ministry legal advisor Ma Xinmin told the International Court of Justice (ICJ) today.

“In pursuit of the right to self-determination, Palestinian people’s use of force to resist foreign oppression and complete the establishment of an independent state is (an) inalienable right well founded in international law,” Ma Xinmin said.

“The struggle waged by peoples for their liberation, right to self-determination, including armed struggle against colonialism, occupation, aggression, domination against foreign forces should not be considered terror acts,” he added, citing international conventions.

​​​​​​​The conflict stems “from Israel’s prolonged occupation of Palestinian territory and Israel’s longstanding oppression of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian peoples’ fight against Israeli oppression and their struggle for completing the establishment of an independent state under occupied territory are essentially just actions,” he added.

Iraq described Israel’s violations against Palestinians as amounting to “genocide”.

“We are deeply concerned about the human suffering across Palestine, especially in Gaza, as a result of the barbaric actions of the Israeli occupation against civilians,” Iraqi representative Hayder Shiya Al-Barrak, head of the legal department of the Foreign Ministry, said in an oral argument before the Hague-based court.

“Israeli violations against Palestinians are tantamount to genocide,” he added.

The Iraqi representative called the World Court to “take all measures to preserve a dignified and safe life for the Palestinians, in which they enjoy all human rights.”

Watch: Kuwait envoy breaks down relaying Palestinian suffering at ICJ

Jordan reiterated the horror’s of Israel’s actions on Palestinians. “I stand before you today while the bloody and inhumane evils of the Israeli occupation appear,” Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said.

“In Gaza, Palestinians are dying due to the Israeli aggression, and they are dying of hunger due to the loss of food and medicine, which Israel continues to prevent from Gaza, in violation of international humanitarian law, and in defiance of the measures ordered by your court,” he added.

“There are no words to describe the barbarity of Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip,” Safadi said. “Half a million Palestinians in Gaza are dying of hunger.”

No country should be above the law. But Israel does not care, and has been allowed to not care about international law. This situation cannot continue

he added.

Ireland’s representative Attorney General, Rossa Fanning, criticised Israel for justifying its military activities by self-defence and then going on to “fundamentally” alter the demographics of the occupied West Bank.

“In our view, the development and expansion of settlements clearly demonstrate that Israel is and has been engaged in a process of annexation of that land for decades,” he explained.

Iran urged the World Court to remind all UN member states of their “obligations” under international law, including “not to aid or assist” Israel to continue its “prolonged occupation” of Palestine or practices that “violate the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.”

It called for not recognising the “illegal situation resulting from prolonged occupation” and for effective cooperation “to bring to an end any impediment resulting from the ongoing violation by the Israeli occupying regime of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.”

Addressing the court, Kuwait’s envoy to the Netherlands, Ali Al-Thefeeri, broke down and was forced to stop his address several times as he questioned why Israel is allowed to commit crimes against Palestinians without being held to account. “Why does the victim continue to be portrayed as the killer?” he asked.

Japan, Lebanon, Libya, Luxembourg, Malaysia and Mauritius also addressed the court on the fourth day of hearings into the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

The court will hear from Oman, Qatar, the UK, Namibia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Syria, Sudan and Tunisia among the 12 states who are addressing the sitting.