ICJ Hearing on Israeli occupation of Palestine opens – working class must demand general strikes to bring down Zionist-supporting governments

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Yesterday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) opened its historic hearings into the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories since 1967.

The ICJ, the United Nation’s highest court, will hear from 52 countries and three international organisations on the legal consequences of the Zionist occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem during the week-long proceedings.

This ICJ hearing is separate from last month’s on Israeli genocide in the Gaza Strip, which was brought before the court by South Africa and which resulted in the ICJ ordering Israel to ‘take immediate steps to protect Palestinians’ rights and cease all activities that could constitute genocide’.

This latest hearing is the result of a UN General Assembly resolution passed in December 2022 to give a legal opinion of Israel’s 57-year occupation of Palestinian territories. The US, along with the UK and Germany, joined with Israel in opposing this resolution – they didn’t want any public hearing that laid bare the decades of occupation and racist violence carried out systematically by the Israeli regime to drive Palestinians from their homeland.

It has certainly come at a bad time for Israel and its imperialist backers who have been working overtime to portray the war of extermination being carried out in Gaza as purely down to the military action carried out by Hamas fighters on October 7th.

The Zionist propaganda machine and the bourgeois press have attempted to wipe out the history of occupation, settler violence and the complete disregard for every international human rights law in the concerted drive to place the blame for nearly 30,000 deaths of Palestinians in Gaza on Hamas resistance fighters.

Opening the hearing, Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki told the court: ‘I stand before you as 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, half of them children, are besieged and bombed, killed and maimed, starved and displaced’ adding: ‘As more than 3.5 million Palestinians in West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are subjected to colonisation of their territory and the racist violence that enables it.’

Following him Paul Reichler, a renowned international lawyer, pointed out to the court that ‘armed groups of settlers, supported by Israel’s occupation forces and encouraged by government ministers, have violently expelled thousands of peaceful Palestinian civilians from their ancestral villages and lands.’

Reichler went on to address the issue of how the United States shields Israel from any legal accountability saying: ‘Whatever offences against international law Israel commits, the US comes forward to shield it from accountability.’

He argued that the ICJ, as the top UN court, cannot remain silent on the question of the right of Palestinians to their own state, and that the words of the court could ‘change the world’.

Along with shielding Israel from accountability, the US government is actively encouraging the genocidal war to drive Palestinians from their land into Egypt or the sea in order to secure the state of Israel as the armed encampment of imperialism in the Middle East to guarantee the security of the oil-rich region for capitalist exploitation.

After the earlier ICJ ruling calling on Israel to stop its genocidal war, the Israeli government responded by ramping up its attacks on Gaza following the green light from US president Joe Biden.

The words of the judges didn’t change the world for Palestinians when it came to halting genocide, and the words of the ICJ will not secure an independent state of Palestine free from Zionist oppression.

The force that can secure the victory of the Palestinian people is the international working class who have shown their overwhelming support for the revolutionary struggles of Palestinians to defeat Zionist oppression.

The way forward is for this massive support to be turned into action by workers in the US, UK and Europe by demanding their trade unions call general strikes to bring down their governments that support Zionist genocide and bring in workers’ governments that will provide all the aid required by Palestinians to smash the occupation and go forward to the independent state of Palestine.

The working class has the power to end the genocidal slaughter in Palestine and end imperialist war across the globe by bringing down capitalism and going forward to workers’ governments and socialism.