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UN court calls Gaza genocide ‘justified’ but stops short of ordering ceasefire

South African President Joan Donoghue spoke on Friday before the International Court of Justice in The Hague announced its verdict in a genocide case brought against Israel.

Remko de Waal/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

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South African President Joan Donoghue spoke on Friday before the International Court of Justice in The Hague announced its verdict in a genocide case brought against Israel.

Remko de Waal/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

LONDON – The International Court of Justice has found that Israel “appears” to have committed a violation of the Genocide Convention. In an interim order issued by President Joan Donoghue, the court said Israel must “immediately” ensure that its forces do not commit any act prohibited by the Convention.

Donoghue said the court was now unable to make a final ruling on whether Israel was guilty of genocide. But she said that given the deteriorating situation in Gaza, the court had the power to order measures to protect the people of Gaza from the risk of further genocide.

Donoghue outlined the interim measures and how each justice voted. The court voted 15 to 2 to pass an order requiring Israel to take all measures within its power to stop anything related to the genocide in Gaza. The court voted 16 to 1 that Israel needs to take all measures within its powers to prevent and punish those who incite genocide against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The court also voted 16 to 1 that Israel must take “immediate and effective” measures to ensure the provision of urgently needed humanitarian aid and basic services.

The court also ordered Israel to take effective measures to prevent destruction and ensure the preservation of any evidence related to the genocide charges, and gave Israel 30 days to report on the steps taken.

in a video After the court’s ruling, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in his office that “Israel, like every state, has an inherent right to self-defense. Despicable attempts to deprive Israel of this fundamental right are blatant discrimination against the Jewish state.” , it is just “rejected… We will continue to take necessary actions to defend our country and our people.” “

Before the decision was made, Donoghue read out statements from Israeli officials that she said made sense of South Africa’s situation. She also offered a bleak assessment of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza.

“The Court considers that the facts and circumstances set out above are sufficient to conclude that at least some of the rights claimed and sought to be protected by South Africa are legitimate. Such are the rights of the Palestinians. Gaza will be protected against racial discrimination under Article 3 extermination and related prohibited acts, South Africa has the right to require Israel to comply with the latter’s obligations under the Convention,” The court ruled.

Palestinian Authority Ministry of Foreign Affairs issue a statement Welcoming the ruling, it thanked South Africa and said: “The ICJ judges assessed the facts and the law. Their ruling was in favor of humanity and international law… No country is above the law.”

In response to this decision, The South African government saidthe ICJ “has determined that Israel’s actions in Gaza appear to constitute genocide and has indicated provisional measures on that basis. This decision is a significant one for the implementation of the international rule of law.”

South Africa filed a genocide complaint with the International Court of Justice in The Hague in December. two days of hearing This month, with the joint efforts of both parties, South Africa asked the court to issue interim measures requiring Israel to immediately stop its attack on Gaza.

The interim order issued by the International Court of Justice on Friday is not a verdict on South Africa’s genocide charges – one that is not expected to come for years. Israel strongly denies the genocide accusations, calling them “baseless.”

Although court decisions are legally binding, they are not enforceable. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented after two days of hearings at the International Court of Justice on South Africa’s allegations. said in a speech“No one will stop us, not even The Hague.”

However, the order is likely to put pressure on Israel’s allies and military backers, including the United States, which has previously described the situation in South Africa as “No use””.

This is only the second time a country has attempted to sue another country on genocide charges. 2019, The Gambia Take Myanmar to the International Court of Justice, accused of genocide against the Rohingya people. In that case, the court approved emergency measures to protect Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority, but Myanmar ignored them.

South Africa charges against Israel

Palestinians inspect the damage after Israel bombed the Omar bin Abdulaziz Mosque in Rafah, Gaza, on Thursday.

Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Photo source: Getty Images

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Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Photo source: Getty Images

Palestinians inspect the damage after Israel bombed the Omar bin Abdulaziz Mosque in Rafah, Gaza, on Thursday.

Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Photo source: Getty Images

In nearly three hours of testimony two weeks ago, lawyers and experts representing South Africa gave evidence that Israel’s bombardment of Gaza – which has now lasted more than 100 days – has now gone beyond targeting Hamas. The scope of the war became Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip.A war against all the 2 million Palestinians under siege Gaza Strip.

Israel’s bombing of Gaza has killed more than 26,000 people so far – about 1% of the pre-war population – According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health. Israeli officials said the Israeli offensive was in response to Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which killed 1,200 people and took more than 240 hostage.

South African lawyer Adila Hashim said: “This killing is a complete destruction of Palestinian life” tell the court.

Hashem made a list “act of genocide” She accused Israel of committing abuses against Palestinians in Gaza, including what she called “massive” and indiscriminate killings of Palestinian civilians, food blockades and massive destruction of Gaza’s health system and infrastructure.

Hashem said the Israeli military dropped 2,000 pounds of bombs on areas declared safe by Israel, including refugee camps.

She said that more than 1,800 families in Gaza lost many family members as a result, and 85% of the Palestinians in Gaza were forced to flee their homes.

The killing of Palestinian children in Gaza was on such a scale that the United Nations Secretary-General described it as a catastrophe of grave proportions. ‘Children’s cemetery,'” Hashem said.

Irish lawyer Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh, who is supporting the South African legal team, told the court: “Entire multi-generational families will be wiped out.” She warned that more children would be killed as a result of what she called “Israeli’s Orphaned by genocidal attacks on Palestinians. Gaza’s population. “

She said Israel’s actions in Gaza led to the need for a new acronym “WCNSF – Wounded Children No Surviving Families.”

Hashem tell the court “Genocide is never announced in advance,” but Israel’s actions over the past three months showed a “systematic pattern of behavior” that she said was sufficient to prove genocidal intent.

The South African legal team also believes that genocidal intent is reflected not only in the way Israel operates in Gaza, but also in the rhetoric of Israeli officials and leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, another lawyer on the South African delegation, noted Comment Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began urging Israeli soldiers in late October to “remember what the Amalekites did to you.” Nukaitobi said this was a reference to the biblical call for the annihilation of entire groups. The command.

“The destruction of Palestinian lives is clear state policy,” Nukaitobi added.

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Israel in turn accused South Africa of raising ‘seriously distorted’ view of hostilities, arguing that it is “virtually indistinguishable” from that of Hamas.

Israel presented its defense on the second day of South Africa’s case at the International Court of Justice. In Israel’s opening statement, lawyer Tal Becker said Hamas was directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths of Palestinian civilians.

Becker called South Africa’s application to the court to issue a temporary ceasefire an “unconscionable request” that was “designed to hinder Israel’s inherent right to self-defence.”

Israel’s statement acknowledged the suffering of civilians in Gaza but insisted there was no genocidal intent. Israel believes the high number of civilian deaths is the result of Hamas’s war among non-combatants.

“It is impossible to understand the armed conflict in Gaza without understanding the nature of the threat faced by Israel,” Becker told the court.

“If there are acts that can be characterized as genocide, then they are committed against Israel,” he said, referring to Hamas’ stated goal of destroying the Jewish state.

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