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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


SA says there’s an urgent need for ICJ measures to protect Palestinians

Israel will respond to South Africa’s argument that nothing can ever justify genocide, no matter how great the threat to Israeli security.


South Africa said there is an urgent need for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to grant it provisional measures that will protect the lives of Palestinians.

South Africa’s top legal minds presented oral arguments in the Peace Palace in The Hague on Thursday in its genocide case against Israel.

The legal team argued that Israel’s retaliation on Gaza for Hamas’ 7 October attacks is tantamount to genocide.

Hamas launched its attack on 7 October, resulting in about 1 140 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally, based on official figures.

Urgent provisional measures

In arguing urgency for an order, Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh told the court of the consequences if it did not grant the provisional measures South Africa sought.

“Israel continues to deny that it is responsible for the humanitarian crisis it has created, even as Gaza starves. The aid it has belatedly begun to allow in is wholly inadequate, and does not come anywhere close to the average 500 trucks being permitted daily before October 2023. 

“Any unilateral undertakings Israel might seek to give about future aid would not remove the risk of irreparable prejudice, not least considering Israel’s past and current conduct towards the Palestinian people, including the 16 years of brutal siege on Gaza,” Ní Ghrálaigh argued.

ALSO READ: Israel calls SA lawyers ‘Hamas’ representatives in the court”

Emotion

Ní Ghrálaigh shared two photographs to support her arguments.

“The first is of a whiteboard at a hospital — in Northern Gaza  — one of the many Palestinian hospitals targeted, besieged, and bombed by Israel over the past three brutal months. The whiteboard is wiped clean of no longer possible surgical cases, leaving only a hand-written message by a Médecins Sans Frontières doctor which reads: ‘We did what we could. Remember us.’

“The second is of the same whiteboard, after an Israeli strike on the hospital on 21 November 2023 that killed the author of the message, Dr Mahmoud Abu Nujaila, along with two of his colleagues,” she said.

On Friday, Israel will respond to South Africa’s arguments.

ALSO READ: ‘Nothing can ever justify genocide’ – Professor Vaughan Lowe

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