A group of NGOs and individuals including former president Marie Louise Coleiro Preca are urging Malta to close its air space and waters to carriers of weapons of war.

In a statement addressed to the Prime Minister and his government, the signatories, who identify as people committed to working for justice, equality and peace, say that international humanitarian law and United Nations peace resolutions were becoming ineffective.

"We are concerned that many Western states are supporting an unprecedented Israeli military siege and carnage in Gaza and mass raids and arrests in the Occupied West Bank.

"We are concerned that this war is spreading to other countries," they said in the letter.

The group acknowledged Malta's "important lead" as a member of the UN Security Council to promote peace, as well as efforts by the government, MEPs and diplomats within OSCE fora.

They note, however, that Malta’s aim of “actively pursuing peace, security and social progress among all nations” as a neutral state can only be accomplished by “adhering to a policy of non-alignment and refusing to participate in any military alliance”.

This means that no foreign military base is allowed on Maltese territory and no military facilities on the island can be used by foreign forces.

"However, for many months of horrific slaughter in Gaza, we have allowed foreign military forces to pass through our air and sea space transporting massive numbers of weapons of war...

"Malta’s constitution is the bedrock of our progressive nation. We say no to war. And as a people, we have said no to militarism, many times in recent history."

Disarmament, they added, was essential for peace.

A displaced Palestinian child sits behind barbed wire on a dune overlooking a makeshift camp on the Egyptian border, west of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: AFPA displaced Palestinian child sits behind barbed wire on a dune overlooking a makeshift camp on the Egyptian border, west of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: AFP

The signatories recalled that following the "NATO invasion of Libya" in 2011, Malta had faced "bitter criticism" for allowing Maltese airspace to be used by foreign military forces taking part in the civil war.

In 2020, people again united to object to the cabinet considering US proposals for a Situation of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Malta, while a survey commissioned by the Foreign Affairs Ministry in 2022 showed that 63% of the Maltese were strongly in favour of the island's position of international neutrality.  

"As the death toll in Gaza rises to over 25,000 people including 10,500 children; as the number of injured people rises to over 62,000 people and the number of missing people to over 8,000; as the UN chief António Guterres denounces Israel for the ‘heartbreaking’ deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, we the undersigned say: Enough is Enough!

"No more carriers of weapons of war will be permitted to pass through Malta’s air and sea space. We call on Malta to take this tangible step toward peace. We call on all other countries to stand up for humanity, for effective humanitarian laws, and demilitarisation."

The letter was signed by Moviment Graffitti, Għaqda għall-Ġustizzja, Ugwaljanza u Paċi, Laboratorju tal-Paċi, Blue Door Education, Great Oak Malta, Associazione Mozart Italia Malta, National Foster Care Association, Young Progressive Beings, Dance Beyond Borders and YMCA

It was also signed by former president Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Sammy Meilaq, Fr Dionjsiu Mintoff, Fr Hilary Taglioferro, Anne Mintoff, Yana Mintoff, Ċetta Mainwaring, Daniel X Mainwaring, Louise Chircop, Angela Deguara, Alex Vella Gera, Kurt Borg, Wayne Flask, Freddie Micallef, Bernard Cauchi, Erica Schembri, Tina Braxton, Robert Micallef, Dr Michelle Attard Tonna, Victor Martinelli, Joseph Gravina, Anna Caruana, Rebecca Cremona, Anna Spiteri, Dirk De Ketelarere, Andrew Camilleri, Marka Pisani, Reuben Grima, Tara Cassar, Irene Mangion, Rafel Grima, Mary Grace Vella, Yosanne Vella, Christine Cassar, Caroline Morales, Anthony Camilleri, Paul Gatt, Debra Comper, Jacqueline Chircop, Antonio Dato, Marcia Grima, Profs David E. Zammit, Dèsirèe Attard, Gabriel Apap, Roberta de Angelis, Dr Edward Zammit, Rita Cortis, Stephen Borg, Raphael Borg, Julienne Schembri, Deborah Falzon and Profs Adrian Grima.

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