Quinteen judges will attend this first hearing of the UN’s main judicial body to hear the South African argument, which also argues that the ICJ decree emergency measures, including ordering Israel to immediately cease military operations, as well as all “genocidal acts” described in the order.
South Africa claims that given the “continuous, extreme and irreparable damage suffered by Palestinians in Gaza”, this complementary measure is necessary.
At issue is the Israeli reaction to the acts perpetrated by the Islamist movement Hamas on October 7, 2023, following a massive attack by that extremist movement that included the launch of rockets and the simultaneous infiltration of thousands of militiamen who massacred around 1,200 people and They kidnapped another 250 in Jewish settlements on the outskirts of the Gaza Strip.
Since then, the Israeli army has launched a strong air, land and sea offensive on the Palestinian enclave, where, in addition to the dead and injured, around two million people, the majority of its population, are suffering an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, with the collapse of hospitals, the emergence of epidemics and shortages of drinking water, food, medicine and electricity.
Israel’s protest and defense is scheduled for Friday.
In presenting the case, Pretoria emphasizes in 84 pages the obligation of all States Parties – which include South Africa and Israel – to the 1948 Convention, to take “all reasonable measures within their power to prevent genocide”.
As such, it urged the Court to recognize that Israel had violated this obligation.
Following the South African complaint, Israel condemned and rejected the allegation of genocide, which it classified as “disgusting”, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu two days later accusing the South African authorities of “spreading lies”.
The United States opposed the South African initiative, calling it “counterproductive and completely devoid of factual basis”, but the cause is supported by other countries.
The South African executive has historically been a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause and the African National Congress (ANC) has often associated the cause with its own struggle against the segregationist ‘apartheid’ regime (1948-1994) in South Africa.
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