Malaysia stands firmly with Palestine

FROM Feb 16 to 24, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, garnered global attention as it examined the legal implications of Israel's actions in Palestine, including East Jerusalem.

Among the prominent voices advocating for justice and human rights at the ICJ is Malaysia.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan delivered a compelling oral submission at the ICJ on Feb 22, articulating our stance on the pressing issues affecting the Palestinians.

With the help of civil society organisation MyAqsa, at the invitation of Wisma Putra, I had the privilege to support the country's delegation in preparing for this significant event. MyAqsa's contributions underscores its dedication to advancing justice and peace on the global stage.

At the core of Malaysia's oral submission is a strong plea for the recognition of the Palestinian people's right to self-determination — an essential principle enshrined in international law.

Echoing Mohamad's sentiment that "the pursuit of justice knows no borders, and the quest for peace is universal", Malaysia stands in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom and dignity.

Central to Malaysia's argument is the assertion that Israel's actions in Palestine are a breach of international law, particularly the right to self-determination.

Malaysia argued that these actions collectively undermine the Palestinian people's ability to determine their political status and pursue socio-economic development.

Malaysia went on to emphasise the urgent need to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the West Bank, where Palestinian communities face displacement, violence and deprivation.

Malaysia underscored the necessity of safeguarding Palestine from further harm and advocating for the full realisation of Palestinian rights under international law.

In presenting its case at the ICJ, Malaysia leveraged the expertise of renowned legal scholars and experts, including Professor Antonios Tzanakopoulos (University of Oxford) and Professor Datuk Dr Rahmat Mohamad (Universiti Teknologi Mara), supported by dedicated officers from the Attorney-General's Chambers and Wisma Putra.

Malaysia urged the ICJ to acknowledge the gravity of Israel's actions in Palestine and take decisive action to uphold justice and accountability.

As a staunch advocate for multilateralism and the rule of law, Malaysia stands ready to collaborate with the international community to address the root causes of conflict and achieve lasting solutions to the prolonged oppression of Palestine by Israel.

As the ICJ deliberates on its decision with regard to the public hearing in the coming months, I call upon the international community to continue standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people and support their legitimate aspirations for self-determination.

Now is the time for concerted international efforts to uphold the principles of justice, equality and human rights for all. I echo Mohamad's call for Israel to immediately cease actions that violate Palestinian self-determination.

This entails halting policies contributing to the occupation, withdrawing forces and settlements from Palestinian territories, and providing assurances against future violations, accompanied by full reparation, including restitution and compensation for inflicted harm.

In agreement with Mohamad's conclusion during his oral submission, I emphasised the urgent need to bolster humanitarian efforts, particularly by supporting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in addressing the pressing humanitarian needs of Palestinians.

This call gains heightened significance in light of UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini's stark description of the dire conditions in Gaza, where the last successful delivery of aid to northern Gaza was on Jan 23.

Malaysia is steadfast in standing for what is right and just, and to champion the cause of Palestinian self-determination on the global stage.

By amplifying the voices of the oppressed and advocating for the rule of law, Malaysia reaffirms its commitment to promoting peace, dignity and justice for all people.

The writer is chairman of Centhra, a Malaysian-based human rights group and a member of the Malaysian delegation to the ICJ public hearing on the legal consequences arising from Israel's policies and practices in Palestine

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