President Mnangagwa welcomes ICJ ruling on Israel In his letter, President Mnangagwa said he concurred with the former Malaysian PM’s call for action against Israel.

Zvamaida Murwira-Senior Reporter

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has welcomed the ruling handed by the International Court of Justice directing Israel to do all it can to prevent the deaths of Palestinian civilians, punish incitement to genocide and provide the much-needed humanitarian aid in the                                       Gaza Strip.

The ruling by the ICJ followed an appeal by South Africa, imploring the Hague-based international court to interdict Israel from committing crimes of genocide against defenceless Palestinians.

The President said this in a letter addressed to former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir Bin Mohamad, who had earlier on written to him calling for decisive action against Israel for brutally killing innocent Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

In his letter, President Mnangagwa said he concurred with the former Malaysian PM’s call for action against Israel.

“I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated February 8, 2024, regarding the ongoing Israel attacks on Palestine. I noted with grief your genuine concerns on the current status quo of the conflict,” said President Mnangagwa.

He said Zimbabwe has been following events in the Gaza Strip “closely since the commencement of the Israeli attacks on the Gaza strip, and also welcomes the decision of the International Court of Justice calling on Israel to take all possible measures to prevent the crime of genocide against the Palestinian people”. 

“It is disheartening that Israel continues to attack the Gaza Strip with impunity and I am anguished by the bombings of Rafah refugee camp which is against International Humanitarian Law,” said President Mnangagwa.

“The Government of Zimbabwe reiterates its call for the continued political process that will expeditiously yield a lasting ceasefire and lead to the realisation of a fully independent State of Palestine, according to the 1967 UN Security Council Resolution and Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995. Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.”

In his letter, Dr Mahathir noted that the world was witnessing the massacre of Palestinians by the Israeli armed forces.

“This is in complete disregard for human rights which I am sure you uphold. (Benjamin) Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister says arrogantly that nobody can stop Israel from continuing its genocide war. 

“Already 25 000-plus Palestinians have been killed. Many more wounded, 70 percent of those killed are women, children and babies. Even the sick are not spared,” said Dr Mahathir.

He described Israel’s conduct as inhumane and “unworthy of our civilisation”. 

“It must be stopped. Apart from charging Israel in the International Court of Justice, the world needs to enforce the finding of the ICJ. The world can do this by breaking off diplomatic relations with Israel and perhaps apply sanctions against it,” Dr Mahathir said.

“Whatever maybe the cause of the war against Gaza, genocide is not justified. Malaysia has no diplomatic relations with Israel. So, I hope your good nations will help save the lives of people by the measures I have suggested.”

South Africa has approached the ICJ to have Israel directed to prevent all the violence and genocide attacks against Palestinians in Gaza.

The United States, an ally of Israel, has since threatened South Africa with punitive sanctions over its litigation against Tel-Aviv.

On February 6, during the 118th Congress 2nd Session, the US House of Representatives introduced a Bill titled, “US-South Africa Bilateral Relations Review Act”, which seeks to impose sanctions on South Africa.

Over 29 000 Palestinians have been killed and 68 291 wounded in Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7 last year.

The ICJ will also hear a case against Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

In a first-of-its-kind case, at least 52 countries will present arguments on controversial Israeli policies in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and occupied East Jerusalem. 

It’s the largest number of parties to participate in any single ICJ case since the court was established in 1945.

Israeli authorities, since 1967, have illegally occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, part of Palestine under the United Nations-determined division of historic Palestine in 1948, running a system that restricts the citizenship rights of Palestinians, hampers their free movement and strips them of ancestral lands. 

Between 1967 and 2005, Israel also directly occupied Gaza and since 2007, it has imposed a land, sea and air blockade on the coastal enclave.

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