Thank You South Africa for Filing Case against Israel’s Genocide at ICJ


By: Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi



The whole world is aware of the war crimes and genocide which are committed by the IDF of Israel by carrying out airstrikes, throwing missiles and dropping bombs on the innocent people of the Gaza Strip in Palestine since the 7th of October 2023. Then it launched a ground operation inside Gaza on 27th October 2023. Since the outbreak of this offensive, the Israeli Occupation Forces are meting out collective punishment on the Palestinian civilians. More than 75 journalists, 136 staff members of the UN and 22,835 civilians have been killed since the war in Gaza started and a big number of people are still trapped under rubble who could not be rescued. Unfortunately, no country of this civilized and modern world has yet taken any action to stop the Benjamin Netanyahu government from such heinous crimes and genocide apart from few countries which have only condemned it clearly. In the 21st Century, if a crime takes place in a corner of a country, the people of the far and remote place come to know exactly as it happens thanks to the power of the social media. In the same way, what is being carried out currently in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank is not hidden from the world. The humanity requires at this pointing time that the Palestine issue should be raised at each and every world platform and the Israeli government must be held responsible for the murder of the thousands of the civilians and destruction of the buildings and properties of the billions dollars by the IDF bombardment.


South Africa’s Bold Step:

Anyway, better late than never, South Africa has taken a gutsy and bold step and come out to drag the Zionist and Apartheid State of Israel in the International Court of Justice on Friday, 29th December 2023, filing a case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), alleging it of committing genocide against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, after nearly three months of ruthless bombardment, which has caused the murder of thousands of people and the widespread destruction in the besieged enclave.


Before going into the details of the points made in the 84 pages submission of South Africa in the ICJ, let us know the efforts of the ruling African National Congress of South Africa which has a history of supporting the Palestinian cause, while the nation’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) being on the top. South Africa’s stand is clear to support Palestine until it gets its freedom as Mr Mandela said: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” It is also important to note here that South Africa believes that the treatment of Palestinians since 75 years bears strong resemblance to its own racially motivated apartheid regime, which ended in 1994 and it got independence with electing Mr Mandela as the first President. Just last month, the South Africa’s lawmakers voted in the favour of closing down the Israeli embassy in Pretoria and suspending all diplomatic relations until a ceasefire was agreed.


In the 84 pages submission, South Africa has described Israel’s actions in Gaza offensive as “genocidal in character, because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group”. The submission in the court also highlights “to place the acts of genocide in the broader context of Israel’s conduct towards Palestinians during its 75-year-long apartheid, its 56-year-long belligerent occupation of Palestinian territory and its 16-year-long blockade of Gaza, including the serious and ongoing violations of international law associated therewith, including grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and other war crimes and crimes against humanity.” The application also requests the court to indicate provisional measures to “protect against further, severe and irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people” under the Convention.


Is It Genocide?

Now, South Africa will have to support its charge in the ICJ that the actions which Israel occupation Forces are committing against the innocent people of Palestine in the Gaza Strip are genocide. In accordance with the article 2 of the Genocide Convention, “The genocide involves acts committed with the ‘intent’ to destroy, either in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.” It is on record that in the last three months, the Israeli forces have demolished the civilians’ homes, mosques, churches, schools, universities, hospitals, shopping centres etc. in the Gaza Strip. They have murdered thousands of civilians including the children, women and elderly people. Almost 85% of the Gaza civilians have been made homeless. They face scarcity of food. Water and electricity supplies have been stopped in Gaza by the Israeli Government. Anyone with open eyes can see the destruction on the ground. But it is not enough to prove genocide in the ICJ. The main point is that the plaintiff, in this case South Africa, will have to prove that the destructive actions of the Israeli Forces are “with the intent”.


To prove its charge in the court, the plaintiff has decided to give evidences from the statements of the Israeli officials whose intention seems quite apparent in their statements in the context of this war, for example, the Israeli President Isaac Herzog said: “There are no innocents in Gaza.” Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu likened Israel’s fight against Hamas to the one waged against the Biblical Amalek in which it was forbidden to spare the lives of any civilians. Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant said: “Israel will impose collective punishment on the people of Gaza; because they are human animals.” Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu suggested that Israel could drop an atomic bomb on Gaza. There are also several statements from Foreign Minister Israel Katz, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter, other politicians, military officials, public figures etc.


To know the factual and a legal basis of South Africa’s charge and to analyse the strength of the evidences, we can just have a look at the report of “The Wall Street Journal”, an America famous daily newspaper based in New York, about the Israeli Forces crimes committed in the Gaza Strip which was published on 30th December 2023. A part of the report is mentioned below:


It reports that the majority of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are now non-operational, with only eight healthcare facilities available to serve the population. Gaza’s historical landmarks, including churches from the Byzantine era, mosques, factories, buildings, schools, hotels, shopping centers, as well as crucial utilities like electricity and water sources, have sustained irreversible damage. It emphasized that nearly 85% of Gaza’s population (2.3 million people) has been displaced from their homes, and over 21,000 individuals in the region have lost their lives as a result of the Israeli offensive. Quoting a political science professor, Robert Pape, at the University of Chicago and an expert on the history of aerial bombing, the Journal reports: “Gaza will enter history alongside cities like Dresden (Germany) and others that were bombed during World War II.” The report referenced a World Bank publication from December 12, revealing that 77% of healthcare facilities, 72% of public buildings, including parks, courts, and libraries, 68% of communication infrastructure, and almost the entire industrial zone in Gaza were destroyed due to the Israeli aggression. The Journal also drew attention to the fact that while the United States dropped 3,678 bombs on Iraq between 2004 and 2010, Israel released approximately 29,000 bombs on Gaza since October 7.


After reading the report of “The Wall Street Journal”, any sensible person can understand that such actions can only be taken with intent to destroy the Palestinians in Gaza. Anyway, South Africa had asked the ICJ for an urgent order declaring that Israel was in breach of its obligations under the “1948 Genocide Convention” in its crackdown against Hamas. So, the court has said on 3rd January 2024 that it would hold public hearings in proceedings launched by South Africa against Israel over the Gaza war on 11th and 12th January 2024.


What is ICJ?

The ICJ or the International Court of Justice is a United Nations’ civil court which is based in The Hague, the third largest city in the Netherlands. It adjudicates disputes between countries. It is also called the World Court. As members of the UN, both South Africa and Israel are bound by the court. Following the hearing, this court usually takes one or two weeks to issue a decision on emergency measures. Although the rulings of this court are final; but it can’t enforce its verdicts. But it is a fact that this case will go in the interest of Palestine; because the world’s governments, which are members of the United Nations can accept its findings and that impacts the types of policies that are put out by the UN. It may play a role in getting cease-fire. It is the best way to legally document the crimes that are being committed by Israel. It will also go in the interest of South Africa as it will be an example of South Africa nation’s decision to “flex its diplomatic muscle in defense of humanity,” as South Africa’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Clayson Monyela said on the social media platform X. It should be noted here that the ICJ is different from the ICC (International Criminal Court) seated in The Hague, which prosecutes individuals for international crimes of genocide, war crimes etc.


Israel’s Reaction on South Africa’s Move:

Following this South Africa’s move, some people were of the opinion that Israel government would not pay much attention to this case and may avoid appearing before the ICJ. But fact is that this sudden initiative has come as a real blow and the Israel government is shocked. It is ready to appear before the court to defend the charge against the country. In its official statement, rejecting the charge, Israel has called it “baseless and “blood libel.” In this regard, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel, Lior Haiat’s statement has been posted on X: “South Africa’s claim lacks both a factual and a legal basis, and constitutes despicable and contemptuous exploitation of the Court.” Furthermore, now Israel has also remembered the humanity and so it said in a statement that the residents of Gaza Strip are not the enemy and is making every effort to limit harm to the non-involved and to allow humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip; while it is false statement to deceive the world. The ICJ should call the Israeli officials and use a lie detector to know the truth of the case. But alas, they are entitled to immunity from jurisdiction!


USA’s Double Standard:

Following the positive response from the ICJ, the USA’s Biden Administration is completely defenseless and finds no way to protect Zionist State as its Veto Power will not work in the ICJ. Now, it has issued a statement on 4th January 2023 saying that the submission of South Africa is meritless. The Biden administration is judging Hamas’ action as “murderous onslaught”; but it finds South Africa’s charge of genocide against Israel as meritless. It is clear double standard. The US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby called South Africa’s submission “meritless, counterproductive and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever.” He further said: “Israel is not trying to wipe the Palestinian people off the map. Israel is not trying to wipe Gaza off the map. Israel is trying to defend itself against a genocidal terrorist threat. So if we are going to start using that word, Fine. Let’s use it appropriately.”


Any wise person will find bias as usual in the statement of John Kirby as he is calling the Hamas Attack on Israel as a “genocidal terrorist threat” and he is failing to see the offensives of Israeli forces in Gaza as genocide; while the statements of the Israeli officials, President, PM, Ministers, politicians and public figures are enough to prove their intent to destroy the civilians of the Gaza Strip.


Reaction of International Organisations, Human Rights Organisations and Experts to Israel Invasion in Gaza:

The US National Security Council spokesman regarded South Africa’s submission as “meritless”. Now, here is a question, is it only South Africa which has accused Israel of genocide? No, it is not only South Africa; but there are also many international organisations, Human rights organisations and experts who have declared the offensive actions of Israel in Gaza as war crimes, apartheid, genocide and calling for independent investigation. Yes, it is a fact that it is only South Africa which has shown courage to file case at the ICJ. Now, let us see the reaction of the human rights organisations and the experts on the Israel offensive in the Gaza Strip. The human rights organisations have said that Israeli policies towards Palestinians amount to apartheid. International organizations, including United Nations agencies, have raised alarms over possible war crimes, with the UN’s human rights agency calling in November for “prompt, transparent and independent investigations into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity, perpetrated in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory on 7 October 2023 and thereafter.”


On 16th November, a group of 36 UN experts called on the international community to “prevent genocide against the Palestinian people”, calling Israel’s actions since October 7 a “genocide in the making”. They further said in a statement: “We are deeply disturbed by the failure of governments to heed our call and to achieve an immediate ceasefire. We are also profoundly concerned about the support of certain governments for Israel’s strategy of warfare against the besieged population of Gaza, and the failure of the international system to mobilise to prevent genocide.”



Many Zionist people remember the Hamas Attack on Israel on 7th October 2023. They try to prove that what is happening today, it is because of Hamas’ attack on Israel. But they must know that Palestine Issue has not started on 7th October, 2023. Palestine is occupied by the Zionist State since long and its citizens are suffering from the attack of the Zionist State forces since 75 years. Hamas attack was against Israel’s blockade of Gaza, expansion of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, torturing the innocent Palestinian people etc. Settlement expansions pose the biggest hurdle in the realisation of a future Palestinian state comprising Gaza, occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. The peace loving people of the world thank South Africa for its courage! They hope that this significant step is a good initiative to hold Israel accountable for its action and to achieve an immediate ceasefire against the civilians of Palestine. ●●●●

Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi is a notable freelancer. He has authored dozens of pieces on diverse topics such as politics, religion, Muslim World and society.