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Israel Will Have To Face the Music at the International Court of Justice

The Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, seat of the ICJ. CC/Velvet

The Israeli government can usually weasel out of attacks made on it at the International Court of Justice, by generally boycotting legal proceedings in UN courts, claiming that they lack jurisdiction. Such legal proceedings are generally of an advisory nature, which allows the Israelis to ignore the court. In this case, however, South Africa, the nation that overthrew the notorious, murderous practice of apartheid, has charged Israel with violating the 1948 Genocide Convention, in its ruthless depopulation war in Gaza. Both Israel and South Africa have signed the Genocide Convention, and it mandates that any case filed by a signatory against another signatory relating to the commission of said crime must be taken up by the ICJ. Furthermore, given the seriousness of the accusations, and the fact that the world is now clearly focussed on Israeli actions in Gaza, Israel would be more than foolish to ignore the matter. “The State of Israel will appear before the ICJ at The Hague to dispel South Africa’s absurd blood libel,” government spokesman Eylon Levy told reporters in Jerusalem on Jan. 2.

“Israel has been a member of the genocide convention since its inception and at this stage, there is no reason to boycott the [ICJ] hearing,” Israeli officials said, claiming that the “blood libel” embodied in the genocide charge “should be fought through participation in the ICJ procedure,” which is a direct response to South Africa’s “disgraceful” actions. The ICJ is obligated to respond to South Africa, they added.

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