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South Africa's Case to ICJ on Israeli Genocide in Gaza

Adila Hassim before the International Court of Justice. UN News

South African human rights lawyer Adila Hassim presented her country’s case before the International Court of Justice today, regarding Israel’s ongoing genocide in Israel. Other members of South Africa’s team presented other facets of the case, including the ongoing genocidal effects to be expected (from the spread of disease, etc.) and the declared statements of intentionality by Israel’s leadership to wipe out civilians and destroy the land.

After explaining Israel’s control over Gaza, “its territorial waters, land crossings, water, electricity, electromagnetic sphere, and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, as well as over key governmental functions,” and that it controls all access in and out, Hassim outlined “the heaviest conventional bombing campaigns in the history of modern warfare,” killing more than 22,000 Palestinians in 13 weeks, and the “immediate risk of death by starvation, dehydration and disease, as a result of the ongoing siege by Israel, the destruction of Palestinian towns, the insufficient aid being allowed through to the Palestinian population, and the impossibility of distributing this limited aid while bombs fall.”

There are four levels of genocide:

1. Mass killings are now at 23,210, “at least 70% of whom are believed to be women and children,” plus another 7,000 “still missing, presumed dead under the rubble.… They have been killed if they failed to evacuate in the places to which they have fled, and even while they attempted to flee along Israeli-declared safe routes…. In the first three weeks alone following 7 October Israel deployed 6,000 bombs per week. At least 200 times, it has deployed 2,000-pound bombs in southern areas of Palestine designated as safe.” Such “bombs are some of the biggest and most destructive bombs available…. Israel has killed an unparalleled and unprecedented number of civilians, with the full knowledge of how many civilian lives each bomb will take…. The scale of Palestinian child killings in Gaza is such that UN chiefs have described it as a graveyard for children.”

2. The “infliction of serious bodily or mental harm” now includes around 60,000 “wounded and maimed. Again, the majority of them, women and children.”

3. “Israel has deliberately imposed conditions in Gaza that cannot sustain life, and are calculated to bring about its physical destruction.” Israel achieves this in at least four ways.

a) First, by the forced displacement of about 85% of Gaza’s population, beginning with an order on Oct. 13 for more than 1 million to evacuate within 24 hours. “It required immediate movement, taking only what could be carried. while no humanitarian assistance was permitted, and fuel, water and food and other necessities of life had been deliberately cut off. It was clearly calculated to bring about the destruction of the population.” At the same time, their homes were destroyed “leaving at least half a million Palestinians with no home to return to…. There is no indication at all that Israel accepts responsibility for rebuilding what it has destroyed. Instead, the destruction is celebrated by the Israeli army.” Video was shown of soldiers “joyfully detonating entire apartment blocks and town squares….”

b) The deliberate creation of “widespread hunger, dehydration and starvation. Israel’s campaign has pushed Gazans to the brink of famine. An unprecedented 93% of the population in Gaza is facing crisis levels of hunger. Of all the people in the world currently suffering catastrophic hunger, more than 80% are in Gaza.” Experts predict more deaths “from starvation and disease than airstrikes. And yet Israel continues to impede the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance,” both limiting the aid and, through constant bombing, crippling the delivery.

c) “Israel has deliberately inflicted conditions in which Palestinians in Gaza are denied adequate shelter, clothes or sanitation.” The population is deprived of adequate clothing, clean water, etc., making for “soaring rates of infectious disease outbreaks” and the explosion of diarrhea in children under five—a 20-fold increase.

d) The health infrastructure “has been completely obliterated.”

4. On 2d, “Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group,” Hassim pointed out that it occurred through such actions as blocking medical kits for delivering babies. As a result, 25 of the 180 women giving birth on any given day have birth-related complications and have no medical aid.