Israel's Reputation Takes A Hit In World Court Genocide Case

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Jan 26, 2024 - 05:40 PM

Israel has suffered its first major setback in the International Court of Justice (ICJ, or also "World Court") genocide case brought against it by South Africa, and thus has also suffered a possible hit to its reputation on the global stage.

The Hague-based court has ordered Israel to take all measures capable to prevent acts of Genocide against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, but it stopped short of ordering a ceasefire. The interim ruling will of course remain merely symbolic as the World Court has no power or mechanism whereby it can enforce the verdict. It asserts that South Africa's case has legal merit and can proceed.

AP: The Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, which houses the World Court

The Friday directive comes ahead what's expected to be a future, final ruling - and it comes as international pressure grows on Israel to reach a ceasefire - which the Netanyahu government is reportedly seeking in offering its 2-month pause plan in hopes of gaining the release of all captives.

The Palestinian Authority hailed the ruling, stating "The ICJ ruling is an important reminder that no state is above the law or beyond the reach of justice," according Foreign Minister Riyadh Maliki. "It breaks Israel’s entrenched culture of criminality and impunity, which has characterised its decades-long occupation, dispossession, persecution, and apartheid in Palestine."

Current president of the ICJ Judge Joan Donahue said however that the "catastrophic situation" in Gaza could get much worse by the time the final verdict in the case gets delivered while explaining why the provisional directive is necessary.

Thus this ruling points to the likelihood that things won't go Israel's way in the end. But again, this is all highly symbolic yet still hugely significant as it impacts Israel's global standing, and opens it up to potential isolation from some countries, and could help the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) gain greater steam. Israeli leaders have long lobbied on a global level against the BDS movement, often labeling it "antisemitic".

South Africa's legal submission to the World Court alleges "acts and omissions by Israel" which are "genocidal in character" as they are committed with the intent "to destroy Palestinians in Gaza" - which in essence targets a national, racial and ethnic group.

Israel's Foreign Ministry last month issued a blistering rebuke in response, rejecting the filing "with disgust" and called Pretoria's accusations a "blood libel" - essentially saying the South African government's charge is being fueled by antisemitism. Israel had also blasted Pretoria for 'sympathizing with terrorists' who massacred civilians on Oct.7:

“South Africa’s claim has no factual and judicial basis and is a despicable and cheap exploitation of the court,” the ministry says in a statement. “South Africa is collaborating with a terror group that calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.”

The ministry blames Hamas for the suffering of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by attempting “to carry out genocide” on October 7, when terrorists from the Strip killed some 1,200 people and took around 240 hostages after invading southern Israel.

"We call on the International Court of Justice and the international community to reject the baseless claims of South Africa out of hand," the prior response statement said further.

The irony in all this is that the 1948 Genocide Convention at issue here was drafted in the wake of the Holocaust, toward the end that targeting an entire people for destruction would 'never again' happen. South Africa, itself having long been under an apartheid government, has also at times accused Israel of setting up an apartheid system to discriminate against Arabs and Palestinians.

All of this is also part of the international pressure campaign - particularly from the Global South - which Tel Aviv and Washington have felt of late, pushing back on and denouncing the Gaza offensive which Palestinian sources say have taken over 26,000 mostly civilian lives at this point.