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By Editorial staff

Journalist


Justice must prevail at The Hague

Washington has thrown its weight on the side of Israel, labelling the SA initiative something which “distracts the world”.


The stance of the United States, ahead of today’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearing of South Africa’s accusation that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, is one which cannot be ignored. Through the words of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Washington has thrown its weight on the side of Israel, labelling the SA initiative something which “distracts the world” from efforts to secure the release of the remaining Israeli hostages in Gaza and to deal with the humanitarian disaster in the besieged enclave. He has also called the charge of genocide “meritless”. That attitude will confirm to critics of…

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The stance of the United States, ahead of today’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearing of South Africa’s accusation that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, is one which cannot be ignored.

Through the words of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Washington has thrown its weight on the side of Israel, labelling the SA initiative something which “distracts the world” from efforts to secure the release of the remaining Israeli hostages in Gaza and to deal with the humanitarian disaster in the besieged enclave.

He has also called the charge of genocide “meritless”. That attitude will confirm to critics of the ANC government that taking the ICJ action was bound to antagonise the Americans and many European governments who support Israel.

WATCH: SA’s case against Israel ‘simple and straightforward’ – Ramaphosa

Whether that jeopardises economic and diplomatic relations with those countries remains to be seen. And, critics might ask, to what end?

Although local legal experts and a number of international authorities have acknowledged that the comprehensive SA arguments do present a case for Israel to answer, the ICJ cannot issue anything like an enforceable ceasefire order, even if SA “wins” the action.

Nor is it likely to make a final decision on whether the attacks on Gaza meet the legal definition of genocide. It will be interesting to hear not only South Africa’s case, but also Israel’s arguments in rebuttal.

ALSO READ: This is SA’s formidable team of lawyers to take on Israel at ICJ for genocide in Gaza

In the case of the latter, the legal and diplomatic equivalents of ad hominen criticisms – questioning SA’s stance on Ukraine and other conflicts, or raising the possibility that ANC leaders desperately need to regain the moral high ground they have lost through corruption – will not work.

This issue needs to be decided by the facts on the ground and not whether SA should be interfering in something which is not its business. That’s irrelevant. Hopefully, justice will prevail.

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