The Netherlands-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced this week that they have scheduled a hearing Jan. 11 in response to a complaint filed by South Africa, accusing the Israeli military of failing “to prevent genocide” while conducting operations in Gaza.
Eylon Levy, an Israeli government spokesperson responded to the accusation saying, “The State of Israel will appear before the International Court of Justice at The Hague to dispel South Africa’s absurd blood libel.”
The court is responding to a Dec. 29 request by the South Africans, demanding that a judicial order be given to immediately stop all fighting related to the Oct. 7 invasion of southern Israel by the Hamas terror organization.
Israel is not a member of the ICJ and does not accept its jurisdiction or adjudications.
Israel’s foreign ministry has strongly rejected any claims that success in the current war against Hamas is contingent on the destruction of the Palestinian people.
In a statement released last week, a government spokesperson reiterated that, “Israel has made it clear that the residents of the Gaza Strip are not the enemy and is making every effort to limit harm to the non-involved and to allow humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip.”
Since the beginning of the war, Israel has allowed repeated aid shipments to arrive in the warzone. This action has been done despite reports that such humanitarian materials are often seized by Hamas and used to sustain their fighting ability. Some assistance, such as fuel for hospitals, is provided directly by the Israeli military.
Throughout the conflict, Israel has engaged in several operational pauses in order to ensure the safe arrival of civilian support convoys.
Since South Africa’s first multi-racial elections were held in 1994, the ruling African National Congress has championed Palestinian nationalism under a foreign policy that often inaccurately compares the Jewish state to the apartheid government that they replaced.
Former president Nelson Mandela was a vocal supporter of the PLO and an ally of the late Yasser Arafat.
If the court rules against Israel, it will be the responsibility of the U.N. Security Council to initiate any enforcement mechanisms. Considering that the Biden administration has criticized Pretoria’s actions, it is likely that the U.S. would veto an attempt to implement any sanctioning efforts.