by Renwick Rose
Yesterday, (Thursday), the Republic of South Africa put forward its case against Israel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at its headquarters in the Dutch city of the Hague. The case charges Israel with genocide against the people of Palestine and requests the court not only to rule that Israel’s current actions in Gaza amount to genocide against the Palestinian people but also to order an immediate cessation of its deadly military campaign and measures to ensure that the Palestinian people get the necessary access to vital resources for their survival.
The South African case accuses Israel of genocide which has killed more than 23,000 civilians so far, more than half of them women and children. It charges that the Israeli actions “are genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnic group”. Particular emphasis is placed not only on the murderous actions of the Israeli military but on what the case charges is the “genocidal intent” as manifested in speeches of Israeli Prime Minister Netenyahu, other members of government and the military.
It is not by accident that South Africa has led the move to take Israel before the international court. That country had a similar experience in the dark days of apartheid. Then, just as in Israel today, the local people, black Africans had no rights in their own country which was ruled by a minority white regime. Just as Israel has compartmentalized Palestine (West bank, East Bank, Gaza etc.) so too did South African whites act, dividing South Africa into Bantustans while taking all the best lands and rich resources of that country. South Africa therefore has experienced the same genocide.
The ICJ is being asked to make an urgent ruling ordering an immediate suspension of Israel’s murderous military campaign so that humanitarian efforts to help the Palestinian people may be instituted. However, a final ruling on the overall genocide charges may take longer for a decision.