Over 150 Maltese activists, including various organisations and a former president, have called on Prime Minister Robert Abela and Foreign Minister Ian Borg to recall Malta’s ambassador to Israel over “genocide” and “the murder of thousands of Palestinian children”.
The open letter and the calls come as the Palestinian death toll has surpassed 11,000, mainly civilians and mainly women and children. At least 41 journalists have been killed since the start of the war, making it one of the deadliest wars for media workers in history.
Noting Malta’s call for a humanitarian ceasefire at the United Nations Security Council and diplomatic work with other council members, the signatories say Malta must go one step further.
“We affirm our belief that justice and equality will bring peace and security and that Malta’s tradition of supporting Palestinian people is even more relevant now in the face of genocide being carried out by Israel,” the letter states.
It continues that Malta should recall its ambassador to Israel based on “repeated and indiscriminate violations of international law.”
“As a neutral state, Malta believes that aggression and violence do not bring peace and respect for human rights and that the murder of thousands of Palestinian children has nothing to do with the condemnation of terrorism,” the letter, written by Dr Yana Mintoff, continues.
It underlines that Malta and its people cannot be party to the killing of innocent civilians, bombing of schools and hospitals and the blockade of water, food, fuel, and medicines. It also mentions “torture, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing” at the hands of Israel.
“Our country cannot turn a blind eye to the horrific realities of this war because of commercial ties,” it adds.
The letter states that several United Nations members, including South Africa, have already recalled their diplomatic missions from Israel.
Aside from several prominent members of Maltese civil society, the letter is also signed by President Emeritus Marie Louise Coleiro Preca.
South Africa severed diplomatic ties last week with Minister in the Presidency Khumbodzo Ntshavheni, saying the cabinet is “disappointed by the refusal of the Israeli government to respect international law and the United Nations resolutions with impunity.”
Jordan and Turkey also withdrew their respective ambassadors, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accusing the Israeli government of intentionally killing civilians in Palestine as an attempt to “gradually erase” them from history.
“We will support formulas that will bring peace and calm to the region. We will not be supportive of plans that will further darken the lives of Palestinians, that will gradually erase them from the scene of history,” he said.
Chile took the same decision based on concerns that Israel’s actions are “collective punishment of the Palestinian civilian population” and that they do not respect the “fundamental norms of international law.”
Colombia, Chad, Bahrain and Bolivia have followed suit over the last week.
Cecilia Attard Pirotta has served as Malta’s resident ambassador to Israel since 2021.
Activists are collecting signatures via this link.