The International Court of Justice is in session as South Africa has launched a case against Israel. South African prosecutors today launched an attack on Israel, arguing that its attacks on Palestinians in Gaza go far too far and have obvious aspects or features of genocide.
"For the past 96 days, Israel has subjected Gaza to what has been described as 'one of the heaviest bombing campaigns in the modern history of warfare,'" always the South African accuser. "Palestinians in Gaza are being killed by Israeli weapons and bombs from the air, land and sea."
"They are also in immediate danger of dying from the effects of starvation, lack of water, and disease as a result of the ongoing siege, the destruction of Palestinian villages, the lack of aid being allowed through, and the lack of ability to distribute that aid while bombs are raining down from above. This behavior makes it impossible [for Palestinians] to fulfill primary necessities of life."
As for the legal charge of genocide, the plaintiff continued, "it is not necessary for the Court to form a final opinion as to whether Israel's conduct constitutes genocide. It is only necessary to determine whether at least some of the alleged acts may fall under the provisions of the Convention."
76 years of oppression
Another South African plaintiff at the International Court of Justice today argued that Israel's response to the Hamas attacks is totally disproportionate. And, he continued, even if it was, there is an important point that should not be forgotten: Israel "has been systematically oppressing Palestinians for 76 years."
"And every day since Oct. 7, 2023 in Gaza, at least since 2004, Israel continues to exercise control over airspace, territorial waters, land borders, water, electricity and civilian infrastructure, as well as key government functions. Access to and from Gaza is strictly prohibited, with Israel controlling the only two border crossings," this South African said.
"Given this continued effective control by Israel over the territory of Gaza, Israel is still considered by the international community to be under a conflicting occupation by Israel. South Africa unequivocally condemns the targeting of civilians by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups and the taking of hostages on Oct. 7, 2023 and has reiterated these condemnations explicitly," he said for clarity.
"Separately, no armed attack on state territory, no matter how serious, even an attack with atrocities, can provide any justification or defense for violations of the convention," he continued. "Whether a matter of law or morality, Israel's response to the Oct. 7, 2023 attack crossed this line and gave rise to violations of the convention."
His colleague said earlier at the opening of the case against Israel that he and his country will "put Israel's genocidal acts in a broader context" of Israel's "crimes" over the past few decades, particularly the "15-year siege" of Gaza.
The case against Israel is described as a potentially major problem for the Jewish nation-state because serious damage can be done to its image. The Hague itself is unsettled. Both fans of Israel and the Palestinians are demonstrating. Not surprisingly, the two groups are at each other's throats. A large police force is active to prevent the groups from actually attacking each other.
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The CIDI, meanwhile, is very angry. The Center for Information and Documentation Israel, which is a lobbying group for Israel, says the South Africans' charge is "absurd." It would also be part of "a smear campaign against Israel, created when the dead from Hamas' attack had not yet been buried."
The South Africans counter that their documents show that Israel is deliberately making life impossible for innocent Palestinian civilians, sending them to "safe places" only to bomb them, and deliberately preventing international aid from reaching the Palestinians, making them suffer (and die) even more.