By Inès Najeh and Louise Kazek /GICJ

The lack of political will from the international community is preventing the end of Israel’s war on the Palestinian population which has caused thousands of deaths since October. While the United Nations mandate is to maintain international peace and protect Human rights, the violence and horrendous acts against Palestinians has not stopped, killing over 36 000 people. The Israeli authorities are currently starving the population as a weapon of war and continuing crimes in the west bank.

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, established in 1975, has a twofold mission: to facilitate constructive dialogue concerning Palestine and to galvanise global support and commitment. In this regard, the Committee held a two-day long conference in the United Nations Office in Geneva on the 3rd and 4th of April 2024, with civil society working on the question of Palestine Building Bridges with the International Civil Society to Address the Ongoing Nakba.

The suffering and violence inflicted upon Palestinians on 7 October 2023, did not emerge out of nowhere; rather, it is the culmination of longstanding injustices. The ongoing situation in Palestine has reached a critical point, prompting urgent attention from the international community. The Israeli occupation has systematically violated the fundamental rights of Palestinians, leading to an emerging genocide.

Calls for Ceasefire Measures on the Road to Justice and Healing

Mr. Ibrahim Khraishi, Ambassador of the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine, began his statement by underscoring the lack of action from the global community towards the ongoing mass killing of civilians, further adding to Israel’s Genocide in Gaza. He continued by stating that, contrary to popular belief, Palestinians unequivocally stand for the release of Israeli hostages, and denounce the targeting of civilians, even despite the horrors they endure at the hands of the Occupying Power. Furthermore, Mr. Khraishi stressed the desperate need for the implementation of the immediate temporary ceasefire resolution by all Member States, stipulating practical and peaceful measures. He concluded by stating that, whilst the consequences of genocide cannot be undone, and Netanyahu’s lack of compliance with international law is beyond dispute, halting the mass transfer of billions of dollars worth of arms aid to Israel should be the first step towards a lasting ceasefire.

Ms. Nada Al-Nashif, the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, was deeply concerned by the region experiencing unprecedented levels of bombardments. Millions of Palestinians remain displaced, illegally detained and in starvation, including 17 000 orphan children.

During the session, Mr. Raji Sourani, a prominent Palestinian lawyer, delivered a powerful speech on the ongoing “criminal war” in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He emphasised the imperative for the international community to denounce the unprecedented tragedy occurring in Gaza and the brutal targeting of civilians. Palestinians will fight for their rights, maintaining hope despite the brutality of the Israeli power. He concluded by calling on States’ to abide by their legal responsibility in holding Israel accountable for its actions, declaring “shame on those [States] that support genocide”.

Mr. Issam Younis, representing the Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights, raised alarm about the perpetrators of “bloody crimes” against the Palestinians in Gaza, highlighting the impunity with which these acts were inflicted, adding that there is “no humanity, only evil genocide”. The prolonged occupation and crime of apartheid have become symbols of a history of oppression that must come to an end. There is an urgent need to exert pressure to safeguard the values of the international system and  implement justice as a moral duty.

Civil Society Calls for Member States Accountability

The second panel of the day, speaking on the role of civil society organisations in ensuring third party responsibility, recalled the lethargic state of the international community while diplomatic cover and arms transfers created a double standard.

Mr. Frank Chikane, the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Global Anti-Apartheid Conference and a guest panellist emphasised on the similarities between the Apartheid that happened in South Africa and the one in Palestine. He emphasised that change will not come by trying to change member States’ minds or with UN resolutions, which clearly did not have enough effect over the years of occupation. According to Mr. Chikane, one of the solutions to this crisis is for civil society to put pressure on States to uphold international law and use their power for the good of humanity.

Other panelists such as Ms. Samah Sisay an attorney at the US center for constitutional rights and Ms. Yasmine Ahmed, director of Human Rights Watch UK urged the governments of the United States of America and the United Kingdom to respect their legal international obligations to stop the genocide and the crime of apartheid happening in Palestine, in order to end any further killings and destruction. The cloak of impunity given to Israel must end. Ms Tilda Rabi, the president of the Federation of Argentinian-Palestinian Entities, recalled the need to address the dehumanising narratives that pervade our world today. She stated once again that civil society serves as a beacon of hope, advocating for an end to such narratives and taking active steps towards peace.

Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) firmly urges the international community to take decisive action to halt the genocide in Gaza and ensure accountability and justice, viewing it as a moral imperative. Simultaneously, concerted efforts are essential to terminate the brutal occupation of Palestinian territory. GICJ emphasises the pivotal role of civil society in spotlighting the Palestinian people's plight to the international community and ending the massacres. It stresses the ongoing need for civil society to raise awareness and advocate for the upholding of international law by the international community.

Read more from GICJ: 

ICJ hearings: Nicaragua accuses Germany's complicity with Israel's agression

GICJ report: ICJ advisory proceedings on Israeli occupation


The ICJ holds public hearings in advisory proceedings- Palestine

GICJ report on South Africa v. Israel

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