Israel has slammed South Africa for hauling the nation to the Hague for its role in the war that’s been raging since October 7, when militant group, Hamas, ambushed America’s top trading partner and staunch ally, killing about 1 200 Israelis.
More than 200 others, including migrants, were taken to the Gaza Strip as captives or hostages.
These action led to a devastating retaliation from Israel, which released over 6 000 bombs on targets in Gaza during the first six days after the attack, killing thousands of Palestinians and causing widespread destruction to infrastructure in Palestinian territories.
To date, at least 20 674 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have reportedly been killed in the retaliatory attacks.
About 85% of the civilian population in Gaza has reportedly been displaced.
Amid a global outcry over the war, South Africa on Friday became the first country in the world to lodge papers in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), asking for an urgent order declaring that Israel is in breach of its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention in its crackdown against Hamas.
Rejecting the claims as baseless – Israel has confirmed that it will be appearing before the court.
The country’s government spokesperson, Eylon Levy, told an online briefing that Israel will be heading to the Hague to dispel “South Africa’s absurd blood libel.”
Listing a series of measures Israel’s military has taken to minimise harm to non-combatants, Levy said Hamas bore full moral responsibility for the war it started and was “waging from inside and underneath hospitals, schools, mosques, homes and UN facilities.”
He insinuated that South Africa was complicit in Hamas’ crimes against Israelis.
“We assure South Africa’s leaders, history will judge you, and it will judge you without mercy,” said Levy.
Israel has repeatedly also accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields, in some cases by locating operations bases under hospitals. A charge Hamas has denied.
Israel condemns South Africa’s decision to play advocate for the devil.
History will judge South Africa for its criminal complicity with the bloodiest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, and it will judge it without mercy. pic.twitter.com/EzCc3ETT2L
— Eylon Levy (@EylonALevy) January 2, 2024
The hearing, before the ICJ, will begin next week Thursday and end on Friday. The International Criminals Court (ICC) is also investigating war crimes claims against Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Unlike the ICC, which pursues private individuals, the ICJ, is the United Nations’ judicial organ for resolving disputes between states. It is sometimes referred to as the World Court.
Citizens of the world have taken to social media in reaction to the unprecedented move by South Africa.
BREAKING: Qatar and Oman announced that they have submitted written statements to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague in support of the Palestinian position on the occupation pic.twitter.com/O7TJ0XApdW
— Khalissee (@Kahlissee) January 2, 2024
— Clayson Monyela (@ClaysonMonyela) January 2, 2024
South Africa has filed a case at the International Court of Justice in the Hague, accusing Israel of committing genocide in Gaza. International law expert Francis Boyle, who has argued successfully at the ICJ, says he believes “South Africa will win an order against Israel.” pic.twitter.com/4Ebz02vxVc
— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) January 2, 2024
If the International Criminal Court of Justice charges Israel with Genocide, would that officially make Joe Biden a war criminal? https://t.co/mv0FDLlkQQ
— Derenic Byrd (@DerenicByrd) January 1, 2024
For everyone of your citizens that left your countries to go kill Palestinians in Gaza in the name of Israel, they must face international criminal charges for genocide, murders, hateful destructions of properties & so on.
I’m calling for criminal charges against them. pic.twitter.com/wFVJ9Q7KHB
— 🇨🇦🇵🇸JAREDEL TSHILOMBO METATRON (@JTMprincenews) January 1, 2024
Israel asking Dershowitz to defend it before the ICJ is an appropriate admission of guilt. I have debated him & use a line he hates is: Alan you are the defender of very guilty clients: von Bulow, Epstein, OJ, Weinstein, Trump, & Israel. Need I say more? https://t.co/S2EgHKtUcc
— James J. Zogby (@jjz1600) January 2, 2024
Israel forced to submit to the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice to answer charges of genocide.
The world is shifting, slowly but inevitably. https://t.co/zljbzCmHfC
— Chris Corney (@ChrisCorney1) January 2, 2024
It is interesting to note that #Israel cannot avoid appearing before the #ICJ to answer #SouthAfrica‘s charges because it did not make a reservation to the Genocide Convention’s vesting of authority in the International Court of Justice to hear disputes arising under the treaty. pic.twitter.com/oYGUqtI7l4
— Fascists Making Deserts, Calling It Peace (@Shanfaraa) December 30, 2023
Sign our petition to encourage governments to file charges against Israel for genocide at the ICJ!
In the new year, we will deliver petitions to embassies across the US whose governments have spoken out against the slaughter in Gaza.https://t.co/UlLUBAZrdG
— CODEPINK (@codepink) December 29, 2023
The Biden Administration has bypassed Congress twice to sale weapons to Israel to commit acts of genocide.
This administration needs to be held accountable.
— Sema #CeasefireNow (@SemaAmore) December 30, 2023
— Chris Williamson (@DerbyChrisW) December 30, 2023
Israel’s trial will begin on January 11, 2024, for charges related to the genocide it committed in Gaza.
We look forward to seeing Israel being held accountable for committing genocide & war crimes. pic.twitter.com/VAPsp4XBzi
— The Anti Zionist League (AZL) (@AntiZionistLg) January 2, 2024
The people of RSA+ Israel lay charges of genocide against South Africa Govt. Ramaposa and ANC are Hamas. They fund and arm Hamas. They murder 100x people a day and there is a rape every 39 seconds. They slaughter farmers and starve 5 million kids. Worse than Gaza @IntlCrimCourt pic.twitter.com/1MPWyC0bEz
— BenIsrael 🇮🇱🇺🇸 (@bluebenisrael) December 30, 2023
🧵In this thread, I’ll delve into and dissect sections of the 84-page South African application
First I want to say that when I began conceptualizing this platform, it was crucial for me to accurately use the term ‘Genocide.’
— Dr. Maen K Househ (@MaenHouseh) December 31, 2023
WHO under fire
While the World Health Organisation (WHO) has also been vocal against Israel’s attacks on health facilities, the Israeli government is accusing the UN agency of hypocrisy.
And the @WHO still says nothing.
Silence tells terrorists: keep going. Use hospitals as military bases. We’ll turn a blind eye and claim your bases immune to military attack under international law. And when you tell terrorist to keep going, you have blood on your hands. pic.twitter.com/O6IDmw6ayB
— Eylon Levy (@EylonALevy) January 3, 2024
WHO estimates that there are 13 partially functioning hospitals, two minimally functioning ones, and 21 that are not functioning at all in Gaza.
Due to the large number of people moving to mostly to the south, the organisation says it’s concerned that this will further strain health facilities in that region, which are already struggling to meet the population’s immense needs.
“This forced mass movement of people will also lead to more overcrowding, increased risk of infectious diseases, and make it even harder to deliver humanitarian aid, said Dr Rik Peeperkorn, WHO Representative in WHO’s office for the West Bank and Gaza.
Day after day, the needs of #Gaza’s war-ravaged people grow. Peril, ill-health, hunger, thirst, lack of shelter—these should not be the norm for millions of people. But sadly, they are.@WHO and our partners have undertaken additional missions in northern and southern Gaza to… https://t.co/nFcTylnGQ0 pic.twitter.com/pf1nHqoC9n
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) December 27, 2023
WHO today visited Al-Aqsa Hospital, where scores of injured people were taken overnight following strikes in central #Gaza, including in the vicinity of the Maghazi refugee camp.
Palestinian health authorities reported that 70 people were killed, while Al-Aqsa Hospital staff… pic.twitter.com/B5503C82CT
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) December 25, 2023
UNICEF Spokesperson, James Elder, has described Gaza as the most dangerous place to be a child.
United Nations comes to the table
Many hope the ICJ will order Israel to stop its hostilities against Palestine.
A move that will be a breath of fresh air to the United Nations, which has been trying, in vain, to find a permanent ceasefire to the conflict.
At some point, UN secretary general, Antonio Gutteres, invoked the rare Article 99 of the UN’s charter in a bid to press the Security Council over the crisis in the war-torn Gaza strip.
Gutteres reiterated his call for a humanitarian cease fire, saying the situation was fast deteriorating into a catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications for the Palestinians.
Defending Israel in the matter, the SA Zionist Federation, among other interest groups, accused the United Nations of having failed to condemn Hamas for its actions against the Israelis.
Last month, the United Nations Security Council finally approved a resolution calling for more humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza after a week of delays.
Russia and the US abstained from the vote, which did not demand a ceasefire.
In October, Washington had blocked a draft Security Council resolution for a humanitarian pause in the fighting, with some slamming the move as culpability in the onslaught in the Gaza Strip.
— Humankind1948 (@auy1jll80) December 27, 2023
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has insisted that the war will continue in Gaza until Hamas is destroyed and the territory demilitarised.
Netanyahu has reiterated his vow to crush Hamas in response and launched a retaliatory military campaign, including extensive aerial bombardment and a siege of the territory.
To our Christian friends around the world, Merry Christmas.
Christmas is supposed to be a time of good will to all men and peace on Earth. Well, we don’t have peace on Earth, not in our part anyway, and we certainly don’t see good will to all men.
We’re facing monsters,… pic.twitter.com/NleTWVybSb
— Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) December 25, 2023
However, there have been mixed reactions to his utterances and actions.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared Netanyahu to Hitler, and likened Israel’s attacks on Gaza to the treatment of Jewish people by the Nazis.
“How are you different to Hitler?”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Hitler on Wednesday, and likened Israel’s attacks on Gaza to the treatment of Jewish people by the Nazis.
Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz… pic.twitter.com/XToLBphWcn
— 5Pillars (@5Pillarsuk) December 27, 2023
In November, a temporary truce was reached where hostages were released from both sides. However the truce collapsed after seven days and Israel resumed bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
In a fresh round of talks, Hamas last week rejected an Israeli proposal for a week-long truce, which will allow for the release of some 40 hostages.
In more efforts to bring peace to the territory, a Hamas delegation went to Cairo to discuss a new ceasefire plan that includes the Islamic Jihad, which is also battling Israeli forces in Gaza.
According to reports, Cairo’s three-stage plan provides for renewable ceasefires, a release of hostages held by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israel, and ultimately a ceasefire to end the war.
It remains to be seen how this war, which experts say threatens regional instability, will play out and if there will be a permanent ceasefire amid concerns that women and children continue to bear the brunt of the brutal conflict.
Written by: Nonhlanhla Harris