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ICJ Orders Israel To Stop Genocide, Putting the U.S. on the Spot

Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, for Secretary General, on ICJ decision. Credit: UN Web TV

In a world grown accustomed to crazy, the drama that played out at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, starting at high noon today and continuing for almost an hour, was remarkable for sustained common sense. It was undeniable that South Africa had presented a case of Israel’s violations of the post-World War II (1948) Genocide Convention that met all the minimum requirements for the Court to issue six different orders to Israel to stop the genocidal acts. The orders centered around the necessity to end the slaughter of civilians, but also to prosecute those in Israel who, by their public calls, attempted to incite genocide, and to “take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance.” The Court had made clear earlier that it was not impressed by Israel’s citations of feeble and belated actions, acquiescing in others trying to get aid into Gaza.

While the United States doesn’t have the control, the status or the capability to do what it was once capable of, it is the U.S. that has been thrown center stage by the ICJ today. Why is that?

Well, according to profile, the Netanyahu “Greater Israel” gang, or, actually, “blood and soil” gang, went ballistic today, blaming the “anti-Semitic” Court of seeking to persecute Jews, even of silently allowing the Nazi Holocaust to occur. (Apparently, it made no difference that the ICJ did not exist in World War II.) Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz even articulated an Israeli-centric new international law: “Israel’s commitment to international law is unwavering” and “exists independently of any ICJ proceedings.” So, what Israel has been doing—better described as the law of the jungle, or perhaps, an eye for twenty eyes—is the new international law?

This Sunday, Jan. 28, over 3,000 members of Israel’s “settlers” movement will gather for a “Jewish settlement in Gaza” conference at Jerusalem’s International Convention Center to hear from the “blood and soil” gang, on the plans to turn Gaza City and Khan Younis into supposedly Jewish cities. The organizers plan to do a “West Bank 2.0” in Gaza. They, unfortunately, are the most organized political force in Israel at present.

These are not Jews—not any more than any so-called Muslim or Christian who is actually primarily driven by rage, is properly called Muslims or Christians. In short, there’s a sickness in Western society which should not be called religion, and need not be fatal. And today’s calm and relentless, 50-minute reading of the ICJ decision was one simple example of sustained common sense coming from a “Western” body. The ICJ decision deserves a good listen. (And don’t overlook the little detail, that the Judge Barak that Israel appointed, voted in favor of two key ICJ orders, that Israel had to prosecute officials who incite genocide and had to mobilize for urgent aid to Gaza!)

So, why is the U.S. in center stage? Because the crazies who temporarily have the upper hand in Israel may be seized by evil, but they don’t control their destiny. The U.S. has the one best chance to lay down the law. Simply give Israel’s government the ultimatum: No more funds, no more weapons. Join us in rebuilding Gaza or stand aside. Any Israeli leader that wants to lead a new coalition government can be offered terms that will make him into a hero before his population.

What has prevented the U.S.? The reality is, horror of horrors, the U.S. is trapped in its own ideological box, different from but just as deadly as that of present-day Israel. It is best identified as one of “American muscle, British brains.” It would take a bit of effort to reconnect with the America of Washington, Lincoln and FDR, but The Hague today provided a pretty good reminder of what one famous American used to say, “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” So, if there’s no other way out, the effort is probably worth making.