By Zukile Majova
All eyes are fixed on The Hague as Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, leads a delegation awaiting the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) ruling on South Africa’s case against Israel.
The case is in two parts:
- that Israel is deliberately causing a genocide of the Palestinian people. This leg of the case could take years to conclude.
- The second demand by South Africa is for the court to order Israel to immediately stop the indiscriminate bombardment of the Gaza Strip and allow humanitarian aid to reach the Palestinian people there.
Pandor is expecting a ruling on the application for a provisional order to stop or limit Israel’s military campaign while the judges decide on the first part of the case.
“South Africa is requesting that the ICJ grant interim injunctions, including that Israel immediately cease its military operations in Gaza, take reasonable measures to prevent the genocide of Palestinians, ensure that the displaced return to their homes and have access to humanitarian assistance,” said the international relations and cooperation department.
Such an order would force Israel to stop bombing hospitals, schools, public facilities and the homes of Palestinians.
The injunction would also allow for the safe passage of humanitarian aid to thousands of Palestinians who are at risk of dying from famine and disease.
What remains of the country’s shattered healthcare system would also benefit from a ceasefire, which would allow for the safe passage of medical supplies.
Gaza has also lost infrastructure, including systems that provide clean drinking water. The sewerage system has also collapsed, further increasing the risk of people being infected by diseases.
South African lawyers told the United Nations court on 11 January that the destruction of infrastructure and the forced removals of people into tents with no water, electricity, food, and ablution facilities was itself another long-term genocide.
More than 25,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war that started on 7 October 2023 when Hamas militants fired rockets into Israel, killing over 1,200 people and kidnapping more than 200 Israelis.