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The International Court of Justice (ICJ) decided in its January 26th provisional ruling to move forward with a peculiar case that South Africa brought against Israel, alleging that Israel has been committing genocide against Palestinians living in Gaza. South Africa claimed that it was simply enforcing rights protected by the international Genocide Convention to which both countries are signatories.
The ICJ is enabling South Africa to weaponize against the Jewish State of Israel the Genocide Convention, which was enacted in 1948 when the genocide of Jews by the Nazis during the Holocaust was still fresh in peoples’ minds. To hurl an accusation of genocide against Israel, where at least one of the nearly 150,000 Holocaust survivors still living in Israel was killed during Hamas’s October 7th attack, is obscene.
Hamas initiated the war with Israel when it invaded Israel on October 7th and went on a genocidal rampage against Israeli civilians. Israel’s military operations in Gaza following that attack are a legitimate exercise of Israel’s inherent right of self-defense, which is recognized in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter when “an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.”
The ICJ deferred making a final judgment on the merits of South Africa’s genocide claims, which could take months or even years to decide. However, the ICJ issued provisional orders to take immediate effect, which are prejudicial to Israel’s inherent sovereign right of self-defense. Fortunately, the ICJ has no mechanism to enforce its ruling, although technically it is legally binding. Nevertheless, the ICJ’s decision that South Africa has presented a plausible case of genocide against Israel will put increased pressure on Israel to quickly wind down its military operations in Gaza.
While the ICJ did not order an immediate ceasefire, it did order Israel to “take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of Article II of this [Genocide] Convention.”
Article II of the Genocide Convention prohibits its member states from committing certain acts with the “intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.” (Emphasis added) The following acts are covered by the Convention, which are only violations if the accused party is proven to have intended to commit them for the purpose of destroying one of the protected groups:
“(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its
physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
The ICJ’s order that Israel “take all measures within its power to prevent the commission” of such prohibited acts under Article II as killing or causing serious harms to members of the Palestinian “group” is deceptively overbroad. It lists the prohibited acts but omits the requirement that these acts must be committed with specific malevolent intent to constitute a violation of the Genocide Convention. Moreover, just as the casualty figures that the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry provides fail to distinguish between the genocidal Hamas terrorists and innocent civilians, the ICJ order makes no such distinction either.
Under international law, including the Geneva Conventions, the distinction between killing or maiming enemy combatants as opposed to innocent civilians is crucial in determining culpability. The Geneva Conventions mandate the protection of civilians in time of war, while also recognizing that civilians caught in the line of fire are regrettably in danger of being killed or wounded inadvertently. To mitigate the number of civilian casualties, Article 28 of the ‘Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War’ warns fighters against using “the presence of protected civilians to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.” Hamas has thumbed its nose at this admonition.
Israel’s war is with the Hamas terrorist organization that savagely attacked innocent Israeli civilians on October 7th. Israel’s intention is to completely destroy Hamas’s capability to ever again conduct another such genocidal attack.
Israel’s prodigious efforts to mitigate civilian casualties in Gaza, consistent with its obligations under the Geneva Conventions, negates South Africa’s allegation that Israel has acted with any genocidal intent to destroy the Palestinian people collectively as a group.
Hamas, not Israel, is responsible for the needless loss of Palestinian civilian lives and devastation in Gaza by deliberately embedding Hamas fighters, weaponry, and command centers among the civilian population and using Palestinian women and children as human shields.
The ICJ also ordered that “The State of Israel shall take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”
Israel has cooperated in facilitating the safe delivery of humanitarian aid to Gazans in need. Israel also just recently offered a two-month suspension of fighting to allow more unencumbered delivery of humanitarian aid, but Hamas has so far rejected the offer.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa exulted in the ICJ’s conclusion that South Africa has a plausible case against Israel that it committed genocide in violation of the Genocide Convention. “Some have told us that we should mind our own business and not get involved in the affairs of other countries,” President Ramaphosa said. “Others have said it was not our place. And yet it is very much our place as the people who know too well the pain of dispossession, discrimination, state-sponsored violence…”
The ICJ allowed South Africa – a non-injured party – to bring its case against Israel regarding events occurring more than 4300 miles away from South Africa by using a globalist doctrine known as erga omnes partes. According to this doctrine, the ICJ ruled, “any State party to the Genocide Convention may invoke the responsibility of another State party, including through the institution of proceedings before the Court, with a view to determining the alleged failure to comply with its obligations…under the Convention and to bringing that failure to an end.”
This globalist doctrine is a Trojan Horse. It is allowing an anti-Semitic government of a country that cannot demonstrate any concrete injury to its own material interests or legal rights to persecute Israel through lawfare in the ICJ for simply acting in self-defense. And the ICJ is allowing South Africa to get away with it.
South Africa’s claim that it is acting in accordance with international law to vindicate in court the right of a group of people to be protected against genocide committed by another Genocide Convention party is a complete sham. South Africa is serving as nothing more than a shill for Hamas.
Just one day after Hamas’s genocidal attack against Israeli civilians innocently going about their lives in Israel on October 7th, South Africa’s government blamed Israel for what happened. It issued an official statement, declaring:
“The new conflagration has arisen from the continued illegal occupation of Palestine land, continued settlement expansion, desecration of the Al Aqsa mosque and Christian holy sites, and ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people.”
A mere ten days after the October 7th attack, South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor had a phone call with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. The Jewish News Syndicate reported Hamas’s claim that Pandor had called to congratulate Hamas for the success of its October 7th rampage.
Last December, just weeks after Hamas’s horrific October 7th genocidal attack, senior Hamas officials visited South Africa to participate in the Fifth Global Convention of Solidarity with Palestine.
South Africa is not an objective party benevolently seeking to protect a group of people from genocide, as it has falsely portrayed itself to the ICJ. The South African government is advocating for a savage terrorist group, whose founding genocidal mission, repeated by its leaders on multiple occasions, is to destroy the Jewish State of Israel and kill as many Jews as possible.
Iran, the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorists, is complicit in Hamas’s campaign of genocide against Israeli Jews by funding, arming, and training the Hamas terrorists. Just two months before Hamas launched its genocidal attack on Israeli soil, South Africa solidified its cozy relationship with Hamas’s sponsor Iran by signing a joint economic cooperation agreement with Iran.
Hamas has threatened to repeat over and over again its October 7th style massacres, sexual assaults, and kidnappings of Israeli civilians. Yet, according to South Africa’s perverted notion of justice, Israel’s defense of its citizens by destroying Hamas’s capability to carry out more such genocidal attacks constitutes genocide itself.
The International Court of Justice has disgracefully closed its eyes to South Africa’s obscene misuse of the Court’s judicial process to thwart Israel’s right to defend its people from another genocidal attack by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists. The ICJ should reverse its horrible ruling and throw the case out. But of course, like all other UN bodies, it will continue to demonize Israel.