Malta must denounce Israel’s actions – NGOs

NGOs call on government to denounce Israel’s actions in the current Palestinian conflict

26 NGOs have sent a letter to Malta’s Foreign Affairs Minister calling on government to denounce Israel’s actions in the current Palestinian conflict.

“We should denounce Israel’s actions as they systematically and intentionally displace Palestinians with a view to make space for illegal Israeli settlers into Palestinian occupied territory,” the letter reads.

The NGOs further call on Malta to remember Nakba Day, the annual day of commemoration of the Nakba which saw more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs flee or be expelled from their homes in Palestine.

In a press conference on Friday, the Palestinian Ambassador to Malta, Fadi Hanania, explained recent developments in the conflict, a tension which he said goes back to policies that violate international law.

“Since Palestine’s occupation and illegal annexation in 1967, Israel as the occupying power has systematically aimed at altering the legal status of Jerusalem - manipulating and changing its demographical composition,” he said.

“This is clearly show in recent developments, including in particular the looming, forcible displacement of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, and the attacks on Muslim and Christian worshippers, observing both Easter and Ramadan.”

Hanania explained how during the month of Ramadan, Muslim Palestinians were not allowed access to the Al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Likewise, Palestinian Christians were not allowed to observe the Holy Week in the holy churches of Jerusalem.

“What happened in Sheikh Jarrah is that Israeli officials ordered the displacement of refugee Palestinian families from their homes, organising a systematic and well-funded campaign with the aim of constructing Israeli settlements instead.”

“The international community cannot stay paralysed in the face of these crimes. It is high time for international action using all means and measures provided by international law.”

The Imam of the Paola mosque, Mohammed El Sadi, was also present at the conference, saying that the world ought to give support to Palestine and the Palestinians.

“The Palestinians aren’t terrorists, they’re fighting for liberation and for their right to have a country. There terrorists are those who occupy Palestine, who push families out of their homes, who don’t allow them the right to their own state,” he said.

“Some leaders defend the rights of Israel, what about those of Palestine?”

Speaking on behalf of Moviment Graffitti, Andre Callus expressed its full solidarity to the Palestinian people, and dubbed the conflict a colonial project, not a religious or ethnic conflict.

“The Israeli state is an apartheid state, where people under their control are treated differently according to their ethnicity, depending on whether they are Arab or Jewish,” he said.

“Gaza is a small strip of land the size of Malta - two million people live there. Almost nothing can enter and leave Gaza because it’s been besieged for 16 years. It’s an open prison where its people and civil structures are bombarded regularly by Israeli military forces.”