OPINIONS

Tue 16 Jan 2024 9:09 am - Jerusalem Time

Will Israel escape the International Court of Justice?

Can Israel escape condemnation before the International Court of Justice this time? The largest judicial body in international judiciary? Or will it escape any condemnation or binding requests, as it has been accustomed to for more than 75 years, thanks to Western support for it, especially from the support it always receives from the United States of America, which makes it protected, if not immune, from any resolutions that the UN Security Council wants to impose on Israel? To respect international legitimacy and the rules of international law, to the point that this support made her disdain and mock United Nations bodies and its Secretary-General, forgetting that her birth certificate was issued to her by the United Nations General Assembly in 1947? 

Is the situation different now for it, given that the Palestinian issue has been presented for consideration before the International Court of Justice, the judicial body of the United Nations? Is this enough when it does not have any regard for the international organization? Isn't it the same International Court of Justice that condemned in 2007 the separation wall that Israel built in the Palestinian territories, and Israel did not abide by what it said? 


Why is Israel concerned about the case now filed by South Africa before the International Court of Justice? Why South Africa and not any other party? What are the possible repercussions if the court adopts temporary measures calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, to ensure Israel’s compliance with its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide? Will Israel respond to such a request?


Last Thursday, an International Court of Justice hearing began in The Hague on South Africa’s call for judges on whether Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza rises to the level of genocide. If this is true, Israel will have violated the Convention on the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide, which It was issued on December 9, 1948, and was ratified by Israel and the United States of America.


South Africa based its claim on Article 2 of the Convention, which defined genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) the killing of members of the group, (b) Inflicting serious physical or mental harm on members of the group, (c) intentionally subjecting the group to living conditions intended for its physical destruction, in whole or in part)....etc.


South Africa supported its 84-page complaint, which was published on the court’s website, and added to it in the court session other data that reinforces Israel’s violation of the agreement, and responded to Israel’s various claims to justify what it did in Gaza, when South Africa’s Minister of Justice, Ronald La Mola, said in court: “Any armed attack on the territory of a state, no matter how serious it may be (...) cannot provide any justification for violations of the Convention.”


Adila Hashim, a lawyer from the South African delegation to the court, said, “The situation has reached such a point that experts expect that a greater number of people will die from hunger and disease, including from direct military actions.” She added that Israel had pushed the population in Gaza “to the brink of famine.” She continued: “Exterminations are not announced in advance, but this court has an advantage; “This is the evidence collected during the past 13 weeks, which undoubtedly shows a pattern of behavior and intentions that justify the plausible allegation of genocide.”


The lawsuit referred to a number of statements by the Israeli leadership from the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, and the Israeli Minister of Defense, the latter of whom, on October 13, described the Palestinians of “Hamas” as “human animals,” thus directly and publicly inciting genocide. 

The lawsuit was documented by reports issued by the United Nations, Palestinian press reports, and civil society organizations, as Israel prevents coverage of Gaza events by the international press, investigators of the International Criminal Court, and reports of the United Nations Human Rights Committee. The lawsuit added that this genocide “is based on apartheid, expulsion, ethnic cleansing, land annexation and discrimination, and cancels the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.” The lawsuit linked the case to the historical path of what Israel did to the Palestinians “a period of 75 years of apartheid, 56 years of occupation of the Palestinian territories, and 16 years of an absolute siege of Gaza.”


The United States spoke out in defending Israel’s right, with its Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, saying: “The United States believes that the South African case brought against Israel distracts the world from important efforts for peace and security.” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that the United States sees no basis for South Africa's allegations regarding Israel committing genocide against civilians in the Gaza Strip. 

The US representatives’ emphasis on the principle of Israel’s right to defend itself. This position is consistent with American behavior itself and with interpretations of Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.


The Israeli Prime Minister said: “This is a world turned upside down. The State of Israel is accused of committing genocide while it is fighting genocide... South Africa’s hypocrisy screams to the heavens.” The victims of the Israeli bombing, children and women, are the ones whose groans rise to the heavens. South Africa did well when it brought Israel before the International Court of Justice, which is expected to issue its substantive decisions, and it is hoped that it will quickly issue its interim decisions to impose a ceasefire. This lawsuit, which was followed by millions of people from all over the world, represents a victory in itself for the Palestinian cause!

Source: Alsharq Alawsat

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Will Israel escape the International Court of Justice?

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