South Africa: All Nations Must Ban Aid To Israel
Orinoco Tribune, February 2, 2024 —
All countries must refrain from supporting Israel’s military in light of last week’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling concerning the war in Gaza, as they could be making themselves accomplices to genocide, South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor has argued.
“The finding, we think, makes it clear that it is plausible that genocide is taking place against the Palestinian people in Gaza,” Pandor told reporters on January 31 in Pretoria. She added that other nations therefore must ensure that they are not aiding such conduct in the war. “This necessarily imposes an obligation on all states to cease funding and facilitating Israel’s military actions, which as the court has indicated, are plausibly genocidal.”
The ICJ, also known as the World Court, ruled on January 26 that Israel must take all necessary steps to prevent a genocide in the Palestinian enclave. West Jerusalem also was ordered to punish members of its military who commit genocidal acts, as well as government officials who call for genocide. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the UN court’s finding “outrageous” and vowed that no Israeli soldiers would be “hauled before the international Criminal Court in the Hague.”
Although the ICJ stopped short of demanding a ceasefire in Gaza—as South Africa requested when it lodged its case against Israel under the UN Genocide Convention last month—Pandor said the decision marked a “decisive victory” for international law. However, she insisted that the UN must have a greater “implementation role” to enforce ICJ rulings, rather than merely observing and documenting international atrocities.
More than 27,000 people—primarily civilians—have been killed in Gaza since the war began in October, according to Palestinian health officials. The conflict started when Hamas fighters launched surprise attacks against Israeli villages, killing more than 1,100 people and taking hundreds of hostages. Around 85% of Gaza residents have been displaced from their homes, and the UN has reported that 570,000 people in the besieged enclave are starving.
US President Joe Biden’s administration approved two emergency weapons sales to Israel last month, bypassing congressional approvals. Washington will not alter its support for Israel as a result of the ICJ ruling, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters last week. Kirby previously called South Africa’s genocide allegations against Israel “meritless.”
Pandor has condemned the West’s selective application of “international rules,” saying they are invoked only when they serve a geopolitical agenda. “You can’t say because Ukraine has been invaded that suddenly, sovereignty is important, but it was never important for Palestine,” she said in a 2022 interview. “It’s very peculiar.”
In addition to its civil claim against Israel with the ICJ, South Africa has called for a war-crimes investigation by the UN’s International Criminal Court (ICC). Pandor said that she had met with the ICC prosecutor last week to discuss the case, and she noted that it appeared to be handled differently than the allegations against Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine crisis. “I asked him why he was able to issue an arrest warrant for Mr. Putin and is unable to do so for the prime minister of Israel. He did not answer that question. But I read into some of what he said that the investigations are still under way.”