Palestine hails ‘historic day’ as Israel ordered to prevent genocide

By Arthur Greene

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on Friday that Israel must take steps to prevent genocide in Gaza.

The preliminary ruling marks a major victory for South Africa, who brought the case against Israel last month to end its devastating war with Hamas.

The president of the ICJ Judge Joan Donoghue passed several orders for Israel to “take all measures within its power” to prevent genocide.

These orders include:

  • Israel must take all measures to prevent any acts that could be considered genocide — killing members of a group, causing bodily harm, inflicting conditions designed to bring about the destruction of a group, and preventing births.
  • Israel must ensure its military does not commit any genocidal acts.
  • Israel must prevent any public comments that could be considered incitement to commit genocide in Gaza.
  • Israel must take measures to ensure humanitarian aid has access into Gaza.
  • Israel must prevent any destruction of evidence that could be used in a genocide case.
  • Israel must submit a report on the steps it has taken to prevent genocide to the court within one month of this order being given.

Sarah Helm, former Middle East correspondent for the Independent, told Scrolla.Africa that it’s “impossible to exaggerate the significance of this ruling.

“You have the state of Israel being accused of genocide and the ICJ finding that accusation holds enough validity for them to examine the charge and take measures to protect the Gazan people,“ she said.

Helm stressed South Africa’s role in shifting the world view of Israel’s treatment of Palestine.

“It is the first time the Palestinian voice has been given any hearing in any court anywhere that has any significance.

“It got there thanks to these extraordinary South African lawyers. They were speaking for the Palestinian lawyers.”

The court stressed that the ruling is a preliminary one, aiming to take measures to stop genocide while it presides over a final ruling, which could take years to reach.

The judgement will be seen as a victory for Palestine and South Africa and a blow for Israel.

Although the court did not call for a ceasefire, Palestine’s government has celebrated the ruling.

Writing on X, the State of Palestine stated: “Historic day. With near unanimity, the ICJ’s ruling is an important victory and a significant milestone in the search by the Palestinian people for justice.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the South African public later on Friday afternoon.

“Today marks a decisive victory for international rule of law and a significant milestone in search of justice for Palestinian people,” the South African government wrote in a statement.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, reacted to Friday’s ICJ ruling. 

He said: “We will continue to defend ourselves and our citizens while adhering to international law.” 

He also said that “Israel is fighting a just war like no other”.

This is a developing story.

Pictured above: South Africa’s legal team. 

Image source: File


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