Thursday, January 4, 2024

Gaza War : South Africa stands with Palestinians in Gaza dragging Israel to the Hague “Everything you need to know and not to know too”

South Africa has made history by being the first country to bring Israel, a state often criticized for disregarding numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions, to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). 

The case is about the ongoing genocide in Gaza and it is going to kick off next week inshallah.

On Wednesday the ICJ announced that it will hold public hearings on the request for the indication of provisional measure submitted by South Africa in the African country’s case vs. Israel on 11 and 12 January.

South Africa has filed a case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), accusing it of violating the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide concerning Palestinians in Gaza.

As per a statement from the South African Presidency, the government decided in a special meeting on 8 December to approach the ICJ, also known as The Hague, to seek an order directing Israel to abstain from any actions that could be classified as genocide or a related crime under the aforementioned Convention.

In other simple words, South Africa has formally requested interim measures from the International Court of Justice to prevent Israel from potentially committing acts of genocide. This involves urging a cessation of combat operations.

This move was akin to a heartfelt Christmas/New Year gift to the Palestinian people during difficult times.

It’s a monumental move. Although it might be considered late, it’s certainly better than no action at all.

Not a single Arab support

Updated on 5/1 

South Africa has indeed made history. 

It was not an Arab country that brought Israel to the ICJ but an African one. I have not come across any official support for South Africa from Arab countries. However, Malaysia announced on Monday that it would stand with South Africa in its case before the ICJ.

Updated on 5/1: Jordan, Malaysia and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation announced that they backed South Africa in its case.

Belgium and Spain “which surprised all of us” supported the move too.

Do not ask where the Arab countries are because they are acting as if South Africa has done nothing !!

“In short, non-participation would serve as a compelling indication that Arab regimes do not represent their people, a stigma that cannot be erased.” Former Egyptian Vice President and Nobel Peace winner Mohamed ElBaradei said on 2 January.

When Ukraine filed a similar complaint against Russia under the Genocide Convention in 2022, 32 countries participated in the court proceedings, expressing support for Ukraine.

Reflecting on this, it’s noteworthy that this move originated from Nelson Mandela’s South Africa. Mandela was a vocal advocate for Palestine and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

On the other hand, when the whole world boycotted the apartheid government in South Africa, Israel was among the few countries that kept very active relations with Pretoria.

While it may not immediately halt the violence, it’s clear that this step has not only taken Israel by surprise but also posed a significant challenge.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry slammed the announcement. Its spokesperson Lior Haiat said that Israel rejected the “disgust blood libel” spread by South Africa slamming it in a long statement that contradicts the real-time mounting evidence that Israel was committing genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza including and above all

I thought that I would not see an arrogant US stateman after Trump’s administration staff but then John Kirby came.

In October, when asked about whether Israel was violating international law as it targets schools and hospitals, Kirby made it clear that he is not an “international lawyer”.

In August 2014 when Kirby was serving in the Obama administration, he also made it clear that he was not an expert on international law when it comes to US drones in Syria.

In June 2023, he demonstrated a thorough understanding of international law when he stated that the destruction of the Ukrainian Nova Kakhovka dam would constitute a war crime. He emphasized that international law prohibits the destruction of infrastructure.

If Kirby lacks knowledge of international law or the criteria for war crimes, why was he, along with the rest of the U.S. administration, concerned about Israel's use of white phosphorus munitions supplied by the United States in an attack on Lebanon?

One must ponder why this concern wasn't voiced when the Israeli army employs white phosphorus day and night in Gaza. Or do they think that the white phosphorus is used only defensively as a smokescreen or as battlefield illumination?

We have tons of photos and videos showing the use of white phosphorus in Gaza during the day, not at night only.

Another video showing the white phosphorus in daylight

No Shortage of evidence

The Israelis and Americans are dismissing South Africa's lawsuit as "meritless" and "without facts," despite the mounting evidence indicating that the situation in Gaza is nothing short of a genocide with a significant "G."

Yet South Africa has submitted an 84-page dossier in its case against Israel at the ICJ. The document includes 574 footnotes, incorporating reports by 22 UN special rapporteurs and 15 UN working groups. Additionally, contributions from the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from October 19 to November 21 are featured.

I don't understand what kind of evidence of genocide is required more than  22,438 civilians, predominantly women and children killed, and 57,614 others were injured within just 90 days. 

In Gaza, one Palestinian is being killed by Israel every 4 minutes. With over 60% of homes destroyed, 85% of the population is now displaced.

I hate to remind you that Russia killed about 10,000 Ukrainian civilians in two years of war and invasion so far.

It is enough to make a connection between the Israeli officials' statements and what is happening in Gaza to know without doubt that genocide is happening with the approval of the Israeli government.

Starting from the Israeli President himself who said that the civilians in Gaza were legitimate targets because they did not stand against Hamas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has frequently referenced "Amalek" from the Torah, which advocates the extermination of every living being in Gaza, including animals.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that “Israel was fighting human animals” when he ordered the complete siege of Gaza.

On Saturday, Israeli far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who rarely discusses his country's economic challenges in this manner, became the latest senior lawmaker and statesman to express support for "depopulating" and "thinning" the population of Gaza.

 In September 2017, during his tenure as a Knesset Member, Smotrich published 'Israel’s Decisive Plan,' outlining his opposition to the two-state solution for the Palestinians. In his view, the sole resolution involves the complete occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, presenting the Palestinians with the options of either perishing, relocating, or staying in limited numbers without any rights.

Israeli Knesset Member Moshe Saada of the Likud party, led by Bibi Netanyahu, stated that right-wing politicians and parties were right for calling for “the destruction of Gaza and its residents.”

Just this week, the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, explicitly stated in mainstream media that every school, mosque, and second house is a target for Israel. She added that there is no other solution except the total destruction of Gaza.

There is a long list of names from Israeli lawmakers and officials who openly supported and called for genocide. Under international law, what they have been advocating for can only be characterized as genocide.

This is the tip of the iceberg for real.

Law 4 Palestine legal group has gathered over 500 similar statements.

Needless to say, there is a charge known as "incitement to genocide" in international law, but it falls under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) rather than the ICJ.

Yet Israel is not a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and has not ratified the Rome Statute, which is the treaty that established the ICC. Therefore, Israel is not subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC unless the UN Security Council refers a situation to the court, which has not occurred in the case of Israel.

I think we all know why.

On 22 December, London-based-MENA DAWN Human Organization submitted a list of 40 Israeli commanders accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Israel goes to court  

Despite claiming to be in control, in the first 72 hours following the South African announcement, I have been reading that the Israeli foreign ministry and defence ministry officials are worried.

Israel is a member state of the ICJ, having joined the ICJ in 1949. However, states can choose not to participate in specific cases brought before the UN court.

On Monday, the Israeli media reported that the Israeli government was preparing an inter-ministerial team to prepare a defence against the petition filed by South Africa.

Israel will make its arguments on 12 January.

Reports and rumours suggest that the Israeli defence team will be headed by none other than the infamous Alan Dershowitz, who is currently facing renewed scrutiny due to his late client Jeffrey Epstein and allegations of engaging in sexual activities with minor girls.

On the legal team representing South Africa, there is the renowned lawyer and international law professor John Dugard, who is also a member of the Law for Palestine Group.

Much like Dershowitz, who has a lengthy history of defending Israel, Dugard has a substantial record of advocating for Palestine and the rights of Palestinians.

Here are also the rest of the names in South Africa’s legal team.

It is not the first time; Israel has faced the ICC or the ICJ. In 2021, it rejected cooperating with the ICC in investigating possible crimes committed by both Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem in the summer of 2014.

So why is Israel alarmed?

If Israel is found guilty of genocide, or if the ICJ determines that Israel intends to commit genocide, any country providing arms to Israel is legally obligated to cease such support under international law.

Unofficially, this conviction could potentially lead to the filing of war crimes and human rights lawsuits in countries that permit such actions, such as the EU and the UK.

These lawsuits may target Israeli military commanders, officers, and soldiers of the Israeli Occupation Army, including dual nationals who participated in the Gaza war from various parts of the world.

This is what we all know about the upcoming confrontation between South Africa and Israel.

So, what is Israel’s strategy in front of the IJC?

According to Barak Ravid from Walla, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has directed its diplomatic missions worldwide to persuade numerous countries to issue statements in the upcoming week concerning the reports on the lawsuit submitted by South Africa to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Additionally, the ministry has requested embassies to encourage various nations to publicly acknowledge Israel's efforts to minimize harm to civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Furthermore, there is a suggestion from a certain TV channel to assert that those who incited genocide are not decision-makers and that those who hold decision-making positions did not genuinely mean it.

Notably, the Prime Minister, along with 13 ministers in his cabinet, and the President himself, has been calling for a genocide.

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