ICJ hearing: Palestinian FM presents historic maps exposing Israel's land grabs

ICJ hearing: Palestinian FM presents historic maps exposing Israel's land grabs
Palestinian FM condemned Israel's prolonged occupation as an attempt to eradicate Palestine and its people, using historic maps to show dispossession.

3 min read
19 February, 2024
Maliki highlighted that Israel had sought to eradicate Palestine and its people in an "unacceptable and inexcusable" manner [Getty]

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has presented five maps of historic Palestine to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) showing Israel's gradual dispossession of Palestinian land and replacement of the local population.

During his address at the historic hearing on Monday regarding the legality of Israel's 57-year occupation of Palestinian land, Maliki highlighted that Israel had sought to eradicate Palestine and its people in an "unacceptable and inexcusable" manner.

The first map he presented showed historic Palestine, a territory which Maliki stressed was inhabited by Palestinians who should have had the right to self-determination before the General Assembly pushed for its partition.

"Palestine was not a land without a people. There was life on this land – political, cultural, social, and religious," he said.

The second map showed the 1947 UN Partition Map, which Maliki stressed had once again ignored the will of the Palestinians.

The third map showed three-quarters of historic Palestine becoming Israel from 1948 to 1967 following the first Nakba.

"From the first day of its occupation, Israel started colonising and annexing the land with the aim of making its occupation irreversible. It left us with a collection of disconnected bantustans preventing the independence of our state as shown in Map 4," the FM said.

The fifth map Maliki showed was the map presented by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly in September, which he described as "the new Middle East".

"There is no Palestine at all on this map, only Israel comprised of all the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea," Maliki told the court.

"This shows you what the prolonged, continuous occupation of Palestine is intended to accomplish: the complete disappearance of Palestine and the destruction of the Palestinian people.

"There can be no justification of these injustices and these indignities; allowing them to continue is unacceptable and inexcusable."

Scheduled for six days, the hearings have garnered unprecedented participation from 52 countries, which will present their arguments on the legal consequences of Israel's occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

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A total of 15 international judges will preside over the hearings which come amid Israel's relentless offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip, which has killed over 29,000 people - mostly women and children - since 7 October.

During his remarks, the Palestinian FM stressed the denial of the right of return for Palestinian refugees, numbering around seven million.

During the hearings, the Palestinian representatives are set to stress how Israel’s occupation violates fundamental principles of international law and argue that Israel’s annexation of large swathes of occupied land breaches the prohibition on territorial conquest, infringes upon the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, and enforces a system of racial discrimination and apartheid.

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Earlier on Sunday, Amnesty International called on Israel to end its occupation of Palestine and stop fuelling apartheid and systematic human rights abuses.

"Israel's occupation of Palestine is the longest and one of the most deadly military occupations in the world," said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary general, in a statement.

"For decades it has been characterised by widespread and systematic human rights violations against Palestinians. The occupation has also enabled and entrenched Israel’s system of apartheid imposed on Palestinians."

"Over the years, Israel’s military occupation has evolved into a perpetual occupation in flagrant violation of international law.

"The current conflict raging in the occupied Gaza Strip, where the ICJ has ruled there is a real and imminent risk of genocide, has brought into sharp focus the catastrophic consequences of allowing Israel’s international crimes in the OPT to continue with impunity for so long.

"The world must recognise that ending Israel’s illegal occupation is a prerequisite to stopping the recurrent human rights violations in Israel and the OPT."