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South Africa Welcomes the ICJ Ruling

Jan. 28—South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said of the ruling today of the International Court of Justice, that the case against Israel for genocide in Gaza is a plausible one, a "victory for international law….

“This Order is binding on Israel and must be respected by all states that are party to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

“We expect Israel, as a self-proclaimed democracy and a state that respects the rule of law, to abide by the measures handed down by the International Court of Justice.

“After more than a half-century of occupation, dispossession, oppression, and apartheid, the Palestinian people’s cry for justice has been heeded by an eminent organ of the United Nations.

“Today Israel stands before the international community, its crimes against the Palestinians laid bare. Since October last year, the people of Gaza have been victims of bombardment and strikes from land, sea and air. Homes, refugee camps, and entire neighborhoods have been destroyed, and not even hospitals and religious places have been spared….

“This marks an important first step in our quest to secure justice for the people of Gaza. Some have told us that we should mind our own business and not get involved in the affairs of other countries. Others have said it was not our place. And yet it is very much our place as the people who know too well the pain of dispossession, discrimination, and state-sponsored violence. We are also a people who were the victims of the crime of apartheid….”

South Africa’s Minister of International Relations Dr. Naledi Pandor, who led her nation's delegation to the Hague to hear the court reading of its decision, found the ruling very positive, singling out the order for Israel to provide humanitarian aid. She said that she’s “hopeful” that Israel will obey international law, but, regardless, Israel’s very powerful international friends will have to take the ICJ finding into account. Asked about the U.S. and Germany having declared that South Africa’s filing was “meritless,” she pointed to the Court’s job to deliberate over the proof of genocide, while those countries that dismissed the suit should pay attention to the provisions about accomplices of genocide. On the lack of a specific order for a ceasefire, Pandor, a revolutionary member of the African National Congress, who fought apartheid alongside the late Nelson Mandela,  stated what is obvious: “How do you provide aid and water without a ceasefire? If you read the order, by implication, a ceasefire must happen.”

Husam Zomlot, Ambassador of the State of Palestine to the U.K., and senior advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas, stated: “Today’s ruling at the ICJ is a historic moment. It is a pivotal moment in the long journey towards justice and accountability, not only for the Palestinian people, but for all humanity, and for everyone striving for justice, rights, and equal application of the rule of law. The legal case brought by South Africa has forensically detailed Israel’s actions and its intent to commit against the Palestinian people in Gaza. The court has delivered its verdict to stop Israel from killing Palestinians, end incitement to genocide, and allow in the desperately needed humanitarian aid to a displaced population starving and under siege and bombardment. The world must implement the court ruling and enforce an immediate, comprehensive, and permanent .”

Finally, human rights activist Francis Boyle, noted for successfully having applied the Genocide Convention for Bosnia before the ICJ in 1993, commented today: “This is a massive, overwhelming legal victory for the Republic of South Africa against Israel on behalf of the Palestinians. The UN General Assembly now can suspend Israel from participation in its activities as it did for South Africa and Yugoslavia. It can admit Palestine as a full member. And—especially since the International Criminal Court has been a farce—it can establish a tribunal to prosecute the highest level officials of the Israeli government, both civilian and military.”

There will be a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Jan. 31, called by Algeria, to discuss enforcement of the ICJ's provisional orders.

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