Featured Image
Palestinians look for survivors after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, on October 12, 2023Anas-Mohammed /

Tell Congress to stop the Biden administration from funding wars in Ukraine and Israel

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (LifeSiteNews) — The International Court of Justice – the highest court of the United Nations – delivered a preliminary ruling finding the charge of genocide against Israel to be “plausible” and refusing to dismiss the case as Israel has demanded.

Presiding Judge Joan Donoghue said that some allegations against Israel fall within the provisions of the Genocide Convention. Donoghue, who is American, was one of fifteen judges who ruled Friday that “the state of Israel shall take all measures to prevent the commission of genocide to Gaza.”

Two additional judges, one from Israel and another from Uganda, ruled against the preliminary order.

The court will now hear evidence supporting the “plausible” charge of genocide against Israel in its treatment of the Palestinians, in a case which may take years to reach a verdict.

The case, brought by South Africa, is based on detailed evidence, including the public pronouncements of Israeli officials and quotations from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself.

In the original writ, the South African government charged that these pronouncements support an active policy which satisfies the definition of genocide.

The acts in question include killing Palestinians in Gaza, causing them serious bodily and mental harm, and inflicting on them conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction. The acts are all attributable to Israel, which has failed to prevent genocide and is committing genocide in manifest violation of the Genocide Convention…

The South African foreign minister responded following the ruling, pointing out that the case also touches upon those nations allied with and supporting Israel, which may see the U.S., U.K., and others named as complicit in acts of genocide following an eventual verdict.

Immediate response

Israel has responded by dismissing the case as an anti-Semitic “blood libel.” Lior Haiat, spokesperson of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a press release on X (formerly Twitter): 

Israel rejects with disgust the blood libel spread by South Africa in its application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

South Africa’s claim lacks both a factual and a legal basis, and constitutes a despicable and contemptuous exploitation of the Court.

South Africa is cooperating with a terrorist organization that is calling for the destruction of the State of Israel.

He concluded with a counter-accusation of genocide against Hamas, before calling “on the International Court of Justice and the international community to completely reject South Africa’s baseless claims.”

Benjamin Netanyahu responded with a defiant claim that “Israel will continue to defend itself,” as defense chief Yoav Gallant said “Israel does not need to be lectured on morality” by a court which named him personally in the case for ordering a “total siege” of Gaza.

The Israeli government has long accused Hamas of genocide as well. Earlier this month the official spokesman for the Israeli government, Eylon Levy, called the October 7 attacks “an act of genocide perpetrated with Nazi-like cruelty and Nazi-like efficiency in the service of a Nazi-like ideology.”

Israeli government spokesman accuses Hamas of 'Nazi-like' genocide

Whilst the U.S. is yet to respond to the ICJ ruling, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby dismissed South Africa’s case against Israel as meritless on January 3, saying “we find this submission meritless, counterproductive, completely without any basis in fact whatsoever.”

A briefing by Washington is expected around 1:00pm EST today, in which the U.S. response is expected.

France is among many nations, including those in the Arab world, South America, and Southeast Asia, which have expressed support for the court and its ruling, which has seen Canada and Ireland careful to avoid a clear statement. The German government is considering a legal analysis of the case.

Court orders and consequences

The court has issued six orders to Israel in this interim ruling:

15-2 The state of Israel shall take all measures to prevent the commission of genocide to Gaza.

15-2 The state of Israel shall ensure that the military not commit any acts of genocide.

16-1 Israel shall take all measures to punish all public solicitations to genocide.

16-1 Israel shall take immediate and effective measures to address adverse conditions to life in the Gaza Strip.

15-2 Israel shall take effective measures to preserve evidence of actions impacting the Genocide convention.

15-2 Israel shall submit to the court a report all measures taken to follow the orders of this court within one month.

One further directive is that the state of Israel must restore the structures it has destroyed, including hospitals, water and energy supplies, and expedite the provision of humanitarian aid. The court demands Israel report in one month on the actions it has taken to do so.

If Israel wishes to remain within the structure of international law it must comply. Should Israel fail to do so, the matter may pass to the U.N. Security Council, where the U.S. may use its veto.

This would cascade the international response down from the U.N. to individual nations, many of whom would take action to pressure Israel.

Israel dismissals, charging anti-Semitism

In a clear sign of Israeli intent, the response from Israeli Foreign Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir was to denounce the “anti-Semitic” court.

“Hague Schmague,” he said in a brief and dismissive X post minutes after the ruling.

The Times of Israel reported that Ben-Gvir “says Israel should ignore” the court, as he continued to accuse a court founded in 1945 of ignoring the Holocaust.

The decision of the antisemitic court in The Hague proves what was already known: This court does not seek justice, but rather the persecution of Jewish people. They were silent during the Holocaust and today they continue the hypocrisy and take it another step further.

Ben-Gvir, whose repeated provocations are seen as a major factor in triggering the October 7 attacks which sparked Israel’s war, concluded with a call making any compliance unlikely:

Decisions that endanger the continued existence of the State of Israel must not be listened to.

We must continue defeating the enemy until complete victory.

Ignoring the rulings of the court has precedence itself. The U.S., the chief sponsor and ally of Israel, has in the past ignored three rulings by the ICJ, most recently in its 2018 findings against the U.S. on humanitarian violations in sanctioning Iran.

With international outrage running high, the costs of doing so in this case would be considerably greater.

The path to ‘victory’

After 100 days of Israel’s war in Gaza, the scale of the destruction and suffering of Palestinians, in comparison to the 1200 or fewer Israeli civilians killed by Hamas on Oct. 7, has been immense. As NPR reported on January 14, the assault has seen “nearly 2 million displaced, thousands of homes destroyed and nearly 24,000 dead – 10,000 of them children.” The number of journalists killed, mostly by the IDF, has far exceeded the total number of killings of journalists during any wars for the past several decades.

Further data was shown on a January 15 episode of “Breaking Points”. Current numbers would be expected to be much higher:

Satellite imagery shows the destruction in Gaza, with almost two-thirds of all buildings destroyed. The World Health Organization reports that 21 out of 36 hospitals can no longer function, with churches, mosques, and universities targeted along with over 100 historic sites.

In December, Israeli snipers shot dead a mother and her daughter inside the compound of the Holy Family Church in Gaza.

In recent days, Israeli citizens have massed to blockade the transport of humanitarian aid into Gaza via the crossing at the Egyptian border.

The world awaits the response of the United States, the chief ally and sponsor of a state now facing accusations of genocide. This is a case with meaning not only for the Palestinians and for Israel, but also for the U.S. and its relation to the concept of international law.

See also below analysis of the decision by Alexander Christoforou and Alexander Mercouris of The Duran. They assess that the decision was a huge win for South Africa and a great risk for Israel if it ignores the recommendations of the court:

Tell Congress to stop the Biden administration from funding wars in Ukraine and Israel