(LibertySociety.com) – South Africa is gearing up for an intense battle at the United Nations as it pursues accountability for Israel’s actions in Gaza. The 84-page filing accuses Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians.
Following the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7, the Israeli government has frequently vocalized its intent to destroy the terrorists. However, officials have also maintained that they are being considerate of innocent civilians, and a temporary cease-fire allowed the delivery of humanitarian aid and time for evacuation. The Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry has reported over 22,000 Palestinian deaths since Israel began its retaliatory efforts.
South Africa accused Israel of violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The filing states that Israel “has breached and continues to breach its obligations under the Genocide Convention.” The filing also referenced statements from Israeli officials that South Africa believes point to the deliberate goal of genocide against Palestinians. The filing asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to stop any offensives that could result in a breach of the convention. It also asked that Israel be ordered to pay reparations to Palestinians in Gaza and to rebuild everything that has been destroyed since the war began.
South Africa and Israel both signed the Genocide Convention, which South Africa used as justification for submitting the case to the ICJ. The Israeli government immediately blasted South Africa for its accusations but made clear that it would send legal representatives to the ICJ in the Hague to defend the nation’s actions. Israel accused South Africa of exploiting the ICJ and running cover for Hamas.
One reason that Israel was quick to mount a defense was the part it played in pushing for the Genocide Convention following the Holocaust. South Africa asked for the ICJ to immediately order Israel to stop its operations in Gaza. However, Israel would likely ignore the order, just as Russia has regarding its actions in Ukraine. Public hearings on the matter will be scheduled soon, but it could take years for the court to rule once it takes up the full case.
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