ICJ begins hearings on South Africa’s genocide case against Israel

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday, Jan. 11, held the first of a two-day hearing in South Africa's genocide case against Israel in The Hague, Netherlands over Israel's brutal campaign in Gaza.

Pretoria's goal with the hearings is to get the ICJ to pass an injunction that will legally compel Israel to suspend all military operations in Gaza. South Africa emphatically reminded the court that, since Oct. 7, Israel has killed more than 23,000 Palestinians in the tiny Gaza Strip.

In its arguments, South Africa contended that Israel has violated Article 2 of the 1948 Genocide Convention "by committing actions that fall within the definition of genocide," said Adila Hassim, an advocate representing South Africa. "The actions show systematic patterns of conduct from which genocide can be inferred."

The South African team presented a whole host of evidence of "genocidal acts" committed by Israel, namely photos of mass graves where often unidentified bodies are buried that prove Israel is committing mass killings of Palestinians in Gaza.

"No one – including newborns – was spared," noted Hassim.

The second evidence of genocidal acts is the serious bodily and mental harm inflicted on Palestinians in Gaza, which violates Article 2B of the Genocide Convention. The South African team noted that Israel's attacks also wounded and maimed close to 60,000 Palestinians, the majority of whom are women and children.

They further argued that large numbers of Palestinian civilians, including children, have been arrested by invading Israeli troops. Many of them are even blindfolded, forced to undress, loaded onto trucks and taken to unknown locations where they may be being tortured or worse have already been killed.

The South African team argued that Israel's leaders all know about these genocidal acts being committed in Gaza and are fully aware of the violence their troops are inflicting.

"Israel's political leaders, military commanders and persons holding official positions have systematically and in explicit terms declared their genocidal intent," said Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, another lawyer on the South African team.

He recalled how, on Oct. 28, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged ground troops to "remember what Amalek has done to you" when they entered Gaza. Ngcukaitobi noted that this is a reference to the biblical command by God to Saul "for the retaliatory destruction of an entire group of people."

Ngcukaitobi further argued that other extremist members of the Knesset – the Israeli parliament – have repeatedly called for Gaza to be wiped out, flattened, erased and crushed.

"Soldiers believe that this language and their actions are acceptable because the destruction of Palestinian life in Gaza is articulated state policy," said Ngcukaitobi.

South Africa's case against Israel could strengthen Genocide Convention

South Africa's move of bringing the genocide case to the ICJ is only the second time a state has tried to litigate the alleged atrocities of another, with the first one being the West African nation of the Gambia, which took Myanmar to the ICJ in 2019 accusing it of genocide against the Rohingya. 

This case resulted in the ICJ's 2021 order for Myanmar's military junta to direct its forces not to commit genocide and to preserve all relevant evidence.

"The Gambia taking Myanmar to the ICJ for its violations under the obligations of the Genocide Convention opened the gate for what is happening now with South Africa taking Israel to court," noted Savita Pawnday, executive director at the war crimes watchdog, the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect. "I think that is a fantastic step in addressing the climate of impunity that has operated for decades.

For its part, Israel has rejected all accusations of genocide as baseless and is determined to fight South Africa's charges in the ICJ. Tel Aviv has also considered simply ignoring the ICJ and ignoring any measures or rulings it releases, but to do so would cause the state enormous reputational harm and loss of influence on the world stage.

Watch this clip of South African lawyer Tembeka Ngcukaitobi providing "chilling" evidence that Israel's continued indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza constitutes genocide.

This video is from the Contrarian channel on Brighteon.com.

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