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THE HAGUE: Palestinians are suffering “colonialism and apartheid” under the Israelis, foreign minister Riyad Al-Maliki told the UN’s top court Monday, urging judges to order an immediate and unconditional end to Israel’s occupation.

“The Palestinians have endured colonialism and apartheid... There are those who are enraged by these words. They should be enraged by the reality we are suffering,” Al-Maliki told the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The ICJ is holding hearings all week on the legal implications of Israel’s occupation since 1967, with an unprecedented 52 countries, including the United States and Russia, expected to give evidence.

Israel will not participate in the hearings but submitted a written contribution dated July 24, 2023, in which it urged the court to dismiss the request for an opinion.

Speaking in the Peace Palace in The Hague, where the ICJ sits, the minister appealed to the judges to declare the occupation illegal and order it to stop “immediately, totally and unconditionally.”

“Justice delayed is justice denied and the Palestinian people have been denied justice for far too long,” he said.

“It is time to put an end to the double standards that have kept our people captive for far too long.”

Summing up, Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour struggled to hold back his tears as he called for a “future where Palestinian children are treated as children, not as a demographic threat.” In December 2022, the UN General Assembly asked the ICJ for a non-binding “advisory opinion” on the “legal consequences arising from the policies and practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”

While any ICJ opinion would be non-binding, it comes amid mounting international legal pressure on Israel over the war in Gaza sparked by the brutal October 7 Hamas attacks.

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