JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — South Africa proclaimed on Wednesday that all states have an obligation to stop funding and facilitating Israel’s military actions in Gaza, after it said the World Court made clear those actions could be genocidal.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) last week ordered Israel to take all measures within its power to prevent its troops from committing genocide and take steps to improve the humanitarian situation of Palestinians in Gaza, in a case brought by South Africa.
It stopped short of demanding a ceasefire and has not yet ruled on the core of South Africa’s case, whether genocide has occurred in Gaza. That ruling could take years.
South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor claimed that the ICJ ruling “makes it clear that it is plausible that genocide is taking place against the Palestinian people in Gaza. This necessarily imposes an obligation on all states to cease funding and facilitating Israel’s military actions.”
While the court denied Israel’s request to throw out the charge of genocide, saying there was “plausibility” to the claim, it also refused South Africa’s call for it to issue an immediate ceasefire order, and called on Israel to “prevent” rather to “desist” from committing any such activity in Gaza.
“I believe the rulings of the court have been ignored,” Pandor said. “Hundreds of people have been killed in the last three or four days. And clearly Israel believes it has license to do as it wishes.”
South Africa has for decades been an advocate for the Palestinian cause, comparing the plight of Palestinians to that of Black South Africans under apartheid. Israel has denied allegations of genocide and rejects the comparison to the apartheid era.
Pandor said she had met the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) last week to discuss a joint referral South Africa made in November with other countries about the situation in the West Bank and Gaza.
“I asked him why he was able to issue an arrest warrant for Mr. [Vladimir] Putin and is unable to do so for the prime minister of Israel. He… did not answer that question. But I read into some of what he said that the investigations are still under way,” Pandor told reporters.
The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in March, accusing him of overseeing the illegal deportation of children from Ukraine.
Russia, like Israel, does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction, and has rejected its allegations.
Israel launched its war against Hamas after thousands of members of the terror group stormed across the Gaza border on October 7 and massacred close to 1,200 people, mostly civilians, taking another 253 hostage. The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says close to 27,000 people have been killed during the war so far, an unverified figure which is believed to include close to the 10,000 Hamas operatives Israel says it has killed in battle.