Israel is preparing to challenge efforts by the South African government for judicial intervention, following an application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) under the Genocide Convention, amid ongoing attacks on Palestinians.
According to the application filed on December 29, “acts and omissions by Israel ... are genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent ... to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group” and “the conduct of Israel – through its state organs, state agents, and other persons and entities acting on its instructions or under its direction, control or influence – in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, is in violation of its obligations under the Genocide Convention”.
Israel spokesperson Eylon Levy on Tuesday confirmed that Israel would appear before the ICJ to challenge South Africa’s application.
“The State of Israel will appear before the International Court of Justice at the Hague to dispel South Africa’s absurd blood libel. In giving political and legal cover to the October 7 massacre and the Hamas human shields strategy, South Africa has made itself criminally complicit with Hamas’s campaign of genocide against our people. We have no doubt that after the Jewish state brings to justice the perpetrators of the bloodiest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, history will judge South Africa for abetting the modern heirs of the Nazis,” said Levy.
On home soil, the application was welcomed.
GOOD Party secretary-general Brett Herron said the government’s application to the ICJ was “a welcome attempt to deliver justice to Palestinian civilians who are being unjustly collectively punished for Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7”.
“The South African government’s application is an important opportunity to find truth, and hopefully a binding order of peace, by an independent court of international law, in a world polarised by the conflict and conflicting narratives of righteousness.
“The application will greatly test the UN court’s fortitude and ability to enforce global conventions such as the
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Until now, the UN (at Security Council level) has been rendered toothless by its quaint colonial architecture that has enabled a series of US vetoes of resolutions calling for ceasefire.
“In a sense, therefore, the court now has the task of either justifying the UN’s existence or proving its unsuitability for the task of ethical global leadership. Palestine is entitled to justice and peace,” he said.
Socialist movement Abahlali baseMjondolo and General Industries Workers Union of South Africa (Giwusa) also welcomed the government’s application.
Abahlali baseMjondolo said: “This is not a war against Hamas. It is a genocidal attack on the people of Palestine by the criminal and deeply racist regime in Israel supported by Joe Biden and the government of the US.
“It is clear that the Israeli state wants to destroy the Palestinians as a people.
It wants to destroy all possibilities for justice and the independence of the Palestinian people.
“We have faced serious oppression as poor people in South Africa, and very serious and at times murderous oppression as organised poor people in South Africa. We know oppression and we are always on the side of all oppressed people everywhere. We are and will continue to be in solidarity with the people of Palestine as they face this attack.”
Giwusa added: “We are calling for more pressure to be applied, by all legal and legitimate means, to end the genocide, the occupation and the system of apartheid which Israel is imposing on Palestinians – including supporting armed resistance.