A coalition of Maltese NGOs has called on the Maltese government to back South Africa’s case against Israel and the International Court of Justice at The Hague regarding its claim of genocide in Gaza.
An open letter was sent to Minister for Foreign Affairs Ian Borg and was signed by 11 organisations, including Aditus, the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, Graffiti, PEN Malta, and others.
Following the 7 October Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, where around 1,200 people died, Israel launched a full-scale attack on Gaza, killing more than 24,100 people, the majority of which are women and children.
South Africa has filed a case in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) alleging Israel’s actions in Gaza amount to genocide, providing reams of video footage, government statements and thousands of pages of witness and victim testimonies.
“Malta’s ongoing efforts to promote peace and stability in the Middle East are crucial. We therefore strongly urge you to seize the opportunity to be a trailblazer among European Union Member States by taking the lead in joining South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ),” the letter stated.
The letter added that a growing number of nations have expressed their support, and Malta should become a part of a historic moment in the pursuit of international justice.
“The atrocities in Gaza demand our collective attention and action. The severe violations of international laws and customs, the loss of so many innocent lives, and the devastating impact on the mental health of children are deeply troubling,” the NGOs added.
The letter also noted that Malta’s approach to addressing breaches of international treaties and coordinating resolutions in the United Nations Security Council reflects its role as a global advocate for the pursuit of peace, security and social progress.
The signatories state that Malta has also spearheaded resolutions at the UN, pushing for diplomatic solutions and addressing humanitarian concerns, particularly leading the call for a humanitarian pause through good-faith negotiations.
“As concerned organisations, we believe Malta’s support in this matter would contribute significantly to promoting a more just and peaceful world,” the NGOs said.
The authors of the letter state Malta has a unique opportunity to lead by example and contribute to the pursuit of justice and accountability within the EU.
“We urge you to stand against impunity and ensure the voices of the oppressed are heard. In this critical moment, Malta’s influence can make a significant impact on the pursuit of justice and the establishment of a framework that respects the rights and sovereignty of all parties involved,” it states.
While noting that such decisions need careful consideration, they urged Borg to support the case and send an important message on upholding international law.
Other countries supporting South Africa include most of Africa, the Arab World and several South American countries. The US and UK do not support it, while Germany, itself responsible for two genocides in the 20th century, one against Jewish people and the other in Namibia, has supported Israel at the court.
The EU has remained silent, while most member states have remained quiet on their stance.
Furthermore, at least 77 journalists have been killed during the war, with the Committee to Protect Journalists stating it has never seen such intense violence and calling for more protection for media workers.