ICJ cannot overlook the grim situation in Palestine: Amb Madonsela

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The South African Ambassador in the Netherlands, Advocate Vusimuzi Madonsela, says the delay in ending the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel has resulted in the cycle of violence.

Madonsela has told the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that the occupation has lasted for over 50 years in defiance of international law.

South Africa and at least 50 other countries and several international organisations are taking part in the public hearings in The Hague, as the UN General Assembly seeks an advisory opinion from the World Court on Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

Madonsela has stated categorically that the World Court cannot overlook the grim situation in Palestine.

He says Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories must be declared illegal.

Madonsela says Pretoria has a moral obligation not to be silent.

South Africa’s acting chief state law adviser, Andre Stemmet, has told the court that the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people is inalienable and is recognised by the United Nations.

One of the influential countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia through its envoy, Ziad Al-Atiyah, told the ICJ that Israel has flouted a number of UN resolutions and should be held accountable.

The ICJ host country, the Kingdom of Netherlands further stressed that all people have a right to self-determination in accordance with the United Nations Charter.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel does not recognise the legitimacy of the ICJ proceedings and that this is part of infringing the country’s right to defend itself.

Israel is not scheduled to appear at the hearings but has filed a written submission rejecting the validity of the proceedings.

Meanwhile, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has recalled his ambassador to Israel for talks, a source in Brazil’s foreign ministry said on Monday, as a diplomatic scuffle plays out over the president’s recent comments about Israel’s war in Gaza.

The Brazilian ambassador had previously been summoned by Israel’s foreign minister for a reprimand following comments by Lula likening the war against Hamas in Gaza to the Nazi genocide during World War II.

“What is happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people has no parallel in other historical moments,” said Brazil’s president, known as Lula, before offering up a comparison. “In fact, it did exist when Hitler decided to kill the Jews,” said Lula last weekend during an African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.

Earlier on Monday, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said Lula is not welcome in the country until he takes back his comments. – Additional reporting by Reuters