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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


South Africa’s support for Palestine over Israel’s war on Gaza welcomed by ANC

SA filed an urgent case against Israel at the ICJ accusing the state of crimes of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza


South Africa has received support for its decision to take Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for ‘genocidal acts’ in Gaza, including from the ruling ANC.

In a significant development, South Africa filed an urgent case against Israel at the ICJ also known as the World Court on Friday, accusing the state of crimes of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza

The move which has been lauded by some, comes after nearly three months of relentless Israeli bombardment which has killed more than 21,500 people, about two thirds of them women and children, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry following Hamas’ 7 October attack on Israel.

ALSO READ: SA takes Israel to International Court of Justice accusing it of ‘genocidal acts’

Accountability

The African National Congress (ANC) has commended government’s decision to approach the ICJ.

ANC national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri said the decision signifies the nation’s unwavering commitment to justice, human rights, and the principles enshrined in international law.

“The ANC stands in solidarity with the South African government’s pursuit of justice through the appropriate international legal mechanisms. The decision to seek the intervention of the ICJ underscores the ANC’s dedication to uphold values of peace, justice, and human dignity.

“We emphasize the importance of accountability for any violations of international law and stress the need for a comprehensive and fair investigation to determine responsibility,” Bhengu-Motsiri said.

ALSO READ: Gaza turned into ‘concentration camp’ – SA refers Israel to ICC for war crimes

Support

Good party secretary-general Brett Herron also welcomed the decision.

“It is, though, too soon to pop champagne corks, as the application will greatly test the UN court’s fortitude and ability to enforce global conventions such as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”

The Economic Freedom Fighter’s (EFF) Nazier Paulsen said more should be done to hold Israel accountable for genocide.

“We should demand more. This is possible when we act in solidarity. Around the world decent citizens are using their voices, standing together and taking to the streets to demand that their governments act against the genocide unfolding in the Middle East.

“We want more. We must demand that SA citizens serving in the Israeli Occupation Forces are prosecuted. Political parties that support the genocidal Israelis must be banned and their leaders prosecuted.  It’s sheer hypocrisy to maintain any diplomatic or trade relations with a country that we know is committing a genocide,” Paulsen said in a X post.

‘Publicity stunt lacking credibility’

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) has reacted to the SA government’s decision, labelling it a publicity stunt lacking in credibility and understanding.

It said it met with Ramaphosa earlier this month to share its views on the conflict and urge government to speak to both sides of the war.

“Rather than play a positive role, South Africa has chosen to expend its time and energy in filing a case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).”

“This latest media-seeking stunt lacks credibility and is evident that they have no real understanding of the current conflict, international law or interest in finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict,” National Chair, Prof Karen Milner, said.

Genocide

In the 84-page court application to the ICJ, South Africa labelled Israel’s attacks as “genocidal” in character.

“The acts and omissions by Israel complained of by South Africa are genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnic group that being the part of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip.

“The conduct of Israel — through its State organs, State agents, and other persons and entities acting on its instructions or under its direction, control or influence — in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, is in violation of its obligations under the Genocide Convention,” the affidavit read.

The application asks the ICJ for a hearing to take place next week and requests that a number “provisional measures” be indicated by the court.

Last month cabinet indicated that it had filed a referral to the court at The Hague to investigating war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza and accused Israel of turning the enclave into a concentration camp.

Israel has rejected the allegation, calling it “baseless.”

ALSO READ: Gaza turned into ‘concentration camp’ – SA refers Israel to ICC for war crimes

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