World Court to Hear Complaint against Israel for Genocide

The most important strategic battle this week is without a doubt the hearing set for Jan. 11-12 at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, on the complaint filed Dec. 29 by South Africa against Israel for genocide against the Palestinians. The South African government asks the court to issue an injunction against Israel to stop the warfare and to observe a ceasefire. While the ICJ, which is part of the United Nations, does not have the means to enforce a ceasefire, the mobilization underway can create the conditions to make it happen.

The charges laid out in the complaint (cf. below), backed by pages of quotes from Israeli government officials confirming their intention to carry out ethnic cleansing, are so well grounded that not one expert on international law who has read the 84-page filing has found fault with it. Many nations and organizations are supporting the courageous initiative taken by South Africa, which has its own long history of the struggle against apartheid and human rights abuses and which is a leading member of the BRICS.

One day after the case was filed, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which has 57 members nations, and 5 nations as permanent observers, including Russia, welcomed the move and called on the Court to “take urgent measures to stop this mass genocide”. The Jordanian government as well as the Arab League have prepared support material for the case. On the grass roots level, the newly created International Coalition to Stop Genocide in Palestine, which has been endorsed by over 600 organizations around the world, is calling on countries to join the South African initiative.

The Israeli government claims it will refute all the charges in court, but an open brawl has broken out even in the cabinet over the policy to adopt in Gaza once the fighting ceases. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu is frantically looking for support, both at home and abroad. Recent polls show that only 15% of the population want him to remain as Prime Minister after the war. And on Jan. 4, his Foreign Ministry sent an urgent cable to its embassies throughout the world, instructing them to pressure their host countries to “publicly and clearly state that your country rejects the outragest [sic], absurd and baseless allegations made against Israel”. A copy of that cable was provided by three Israeli officials to Axios.

Such intense pressure did not have to be applied to the Biden Administration.  At a Jan. 3 briefing, State Department spokesman Matt Miller stated that his department has seen no evidence of genocide taking place, and called the charges “unproductive”. John Kirby, Strategic Communications Director of the National Security Council, went even further the next day, stating that the submission is “meritless, counterproductive and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever”.

The Schiller Institute, for its part,  has issued a call for supporting South Africa in this “crucial battle for civilization”, which underscores more than ever the urgency of implementing a new international Security and Development Architecture (cf. SAS 10, 11/23).

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