Reaction to South Africa's UN court case against Israel's war in Gaza

January 12, 2024 12:28 pm

[Source: Reuters]

South Africa accused Israel of subjecting Palestinians to genocidal acts at the opening of hearings at the top U.N. court on a case the country brought against the Israeli military campaign in Gaza.

Israel says the case is baseless.

The following are reactions to the proceedings that began at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.

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“South Africa’s case before the International Court of Justice… is a historic event in the process of the joint Palestinian and South African struggle in the face of the injustice and genocide.

“Holding Israel, the illegal occupying power, accountable, using all legal tools, and through international justice institutions and international law enforcement, is the main focus of the legal strategy of the State of Palestine, and the core of the diplomatic and international movement.

“…What encouraged Israel and its various tools, including government officials, military personnel, and colonialists, to commit crimes, leading to the commission of, and incitement to commit, the crime of genocide, is due to international failure, the failure to take practical steps to hold it accountable…, and supplying Israel with various types of lethal weapons and political support…”

Political official Basem Naim: “We welcome the convening of the (case)…on the accusation of ethnic cleansing and genocide. We are looking forward to seeing a decision by the court that would achieve justice for the (Palestinian) victims, end the aggression on Gaza, and hold the war criminals accountable.”

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri: “The Palestinian people are following the court session in The Hague with great concern and interest … We urge the court to reject all pressure and take a decision to criminalise the Israeli occupation and stop the aggression on Gaza.”

“The U.S. believes South Africa’s genocide submission against Israel distracts the world from important efforts for peace and security.”

“Today we witnessed one of the greatest shows of hypocrisy in history and a series of baseless and false claims. South Africa…(is) ignoring the fact that Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel, murdered, executed, massacred, raped and kidnapped Israeli citizens, just because they were Israelis, in an attempt to carry out genocide.

“…South African lawyers also ignore the fact that Hamas uses the civilian population in Gaza as human shields and operates from hospitals, schools, U.N. shelters, mosques and churches with the intention of endangering the lives of the residents of the Gaza Strip.”

“The state of Israel will continue to…work for the release of all abductees and the elimination of …Hamas, a racist and antisemitic terrorist organization that calls in its art for the destruction of the state of Israel and the murder of Jews.”

“South Africa’s double-speak and double-standards is also evident with dogged determination to remain neutral and `talk to both’ sides in the Russia-Ukraine war. Yet, with Israel it has taken constant punitive action, including refusing to offer condolences to Israel after the 7 October massacre, closing the South African embassy, issuing a demarche to the Israeli ambassador and now taking Israel to the ICJ.

“The SA Jewish Board of Deputies regrets all loss of civilian lives. We too, desperately want to see peace in the region and will support all initiatives that will bring about a two-state solution.

“Hamas started this war. Hamas can end it. South Africa could play a role in facilitating this.”

“Israel has always been a state above the law. They did what they did in Gaza because they knew they couldn’t be punished as long as America was on their side. It is time to change that.

“We salute South Africa, and we want the war to be stopped and the court can do that. We call upon the world to say enough to Israeli killings, enough to massacres, enough to the destruction of Gaza, enough to the bloodshed.”

“It is a fact that genocide preconditions the intention, to destroy or partly destroy a group because of their nationality, ethnicity, race or religion. I cannot detect any of this intention by Israel in its self-defence against an armed terror group Hamas. We will observe the hearing closely.”

“The Nelson Mandela Foundation extends support to the South African legal team as they appear before the International Court of Justice today. Wishing them strength and success in their pursuit of truth, justice and peace. #CeasefireNow.”

(“We hope for a) fair and expeditious verdict that reflects respect for human values and rights, especially international humanitarian law.” ‎‎