South Africa Appeals to the International Court of Justice: Stop Israel’s Genocide in Gaza – Robert Herbst 12/31/23


South Africa’s 84 page long Application to the International Court of Justice to begin proceedings against Israel for its genocide in Gaza is a devastating document laying out Israel’s genocidal acts and statements in horrifying detail.

On Thursday, December 28, South Africa filed an Application Instituting Proceedings at the International Court of Justice to commence proceedings in a legal forum against Israel for its genocide in Gaza, and to press for “provisional measures” – a preliminary order requiring the Israel Government and military to cease their genocidal acts in Gaza pending a full hearing by the court.

South Africa’s Application is 84 pages long and devastating – to the State of Israel, to its Jewish political and military leaders and personnel committing the genocidal acts and speaking openly of their genocidal intent, to those in Israel, America, and Europe standing so firmly in support of them, and to the Jewish people in whose name Israel purports to act.

The Application lays out these genocidal acts and statements in horrifying detail, after noting the contextual background so often missing in diplomatic and mainstream media discussion of the Gaza war. Israel’s acts of genocide, says South Africa:

“are distinct from other violations of international law sanctioned or perpetrated by the Israeli government and military in Gaza — including intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population, civilian objects and buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected; torture; the starvation of civilians as a method of warfare; and other war crimes and crimes against humanity” – all of which have occurred “in the broader context of Israel’s [] 75-year-long apartheid, its 56-year-long belligerent occupation of Palestinian territory and its 16-year-long blockade of Gaza[.]”  

Indeed, one of the most salient parts of the Application is its meticulous documentation of the misery that Israel imposed on Gazans before October 7, imposing a stringent blockade and effectively sealing them off from the outside world, reducing the area available for farming, severely reducing their ability to fish in the 20-mile zone stipulated in the Oslo Accords, and severely restricting food imports by calories per head to a humanitarian minimum after its “disengagement” and Hamas’s election victory in 2006, restricting electrical power, and polluting the coastal aquifer, the sole source of natural drinking water, all severely impairing daily living and the economy, resulting in a 45 percent unemployment rate and a 60 percent poverty rate, with 80 percent of the population dependent on some form of international assistance. And in the three years before October 7, Israel killed approximately 7,500 Gazans, including approximately 1,700 children. Over 18 months of weekly, peaceful protests at the separation fence against the blockade, Israeli snipers killed hundreds and wounded over 36,000, including nearly 9,000 children. Almost 5,000 unarmed people were shot in the lower limbs, deliberately, many standing hundreds of meters away.

All that would be bad enough. But, as the Application demonstrates, Israel has descended to a whole new level of criminality that clearly meets the definition of genocide under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide: “acts intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnic group.”

Gaza’s 2.3 million people clearly form a substantial part of that group, which numbers 5.5 million under occupation. The Application thoroughly documents these genocidal acts that violate the Convention: “killing Gazans en masse, causing them serious bodily and mental harm, and inflicting on them conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction.”…

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