In a groundbreaking move, South Africa is set to bring the Israel-Gaza conflict before the International Court of Justice, accusing Israel of genocide. The case, scheduled for hearing next week, challenges Israel’s actions in its Gaza offensive, stating that they are “genocidal in character.” More than 22,000 Palestinians have reportedly perished since the conflict began.
Israel has vehemently rejected the accusations, calling the filing “blood libel.” The White House also dismissed the submission as “meritless” while casting doubt on the casualty figures, citing the Gaza Ministry of Health’s affiliation with Hamas, the governing body of Gaza.
The 84-page submission by South Africa alleges that Israel’s actions in Gaza violate the 1948 Genocide Convention. It asserts that Israel, with specific intent, aims to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as part of the broader Palestinian group.
International organizations, including the United Nations, have raised concerns over potential war crimes, urging transparent investigations into the allegations. Israel has criticized South Africa’s move, accusing it of playing “advocate for the devil” and engaging in “blood libel,” historically associated with anti-Semitic narratives.
The South African application argues that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians draws parallels with South Africa’s apartheid regime, emphasizing the need to view the alleged acts of genocide within the broader context of Israel’s actions in the region.
The South African ruling party, the African National Congress, has a longstanding history of supporting the Palestinian cause. The submission echoes the sentiments of the late Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president, who stated, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
South Africa’s legal move has garnered support from Muslim-majority nations, including Turkey and Malaysia. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has also endorsed South Africa’s submission, viewing it as fitting the definition of genocide. The case reflects a diplomatic effort by South Africa to address alleged human rights violations and seek justice on the international stage.