COMMENTARY: By Caitlin Johnstone
The International Court of Justice rejected Israel’s request to dismiss the genocide case brought against it by South Africa yesterday, ruling by a massive majority that the case shall proceed and instructing Israel to refrain from killing and harming Palestinians in the interim.
Many Palestine supporters have expressed dismay that the ICJ did not explicitly order a ceasefire, while many others (including South African officials) argue that the ruling is very positive and tantamount to a ceasefire order because it demands the end of harm to members of the protected group.
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But such performative chest-thumping is severely undercut by the way high-level Israeli officials are currently accusing the ICJ of antisemitism and saying Israel should ignore its rulings.
“The international court of justice went above and beyond when it granted South Africa’s antisemitic request to discuss the claim of genocide in Gaza, and now refuses to reject the petition outright,” complained Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant in response to the ruling.
Israeli officials accuse international court of justice of antisemitic bias https://t.co/QoUltAdHgG
— The Guardian (@guardian) January 27, 2024
“The decision of the antisemitic court in The Hague proves what was already known: This court does not seek justice, but rather the persecution of Jewish people,” said Israeli national security minister Itamar Ben Gvir.
Ben Gvir also tweeted “Hague Schmague” immediately after the ruling was issued, which will probably go down in history as the most Israeli tweet of all time.
Everyone’s arguing about whether or not the ICJ’s ruling is helpful, and I don’t know enough one way or the other to be sure either way, but from where things stand right now it does seem unlikely to me that managers of the Israeli war machine would be getting this freaked out and whipping out their tired old “antisemitism” song and dance if there wasn’t something of substance to it.
The genocide case against Israel. Video: Al Jazeera
International lawyer Francis Boyle, who won provisional measures against Yugoslavia at the ICJ in 1993, said the following of the ruling:
“This is a massive, overwhelming legal victory for the Republic of South Africa against Israel on behalf of the Palestinians. The UN General Assembly now can suspend Israel from participation in its activities as it did for South Africa and Yugoslavia.
“It can admit Palestine as a full member. And — especially since the International Criminal Court has been a farce — it can establish a tribunal to prosecute the highest level officials of the Israeli government, both civilian and military.”
So take that for whatever that’s worth to you. In any case the butchery in Gaza still urgently needs to be ended, and only time will tell whether Friday’s development had any major effect on the outcome of this horror.
But what I wouldn’t have given to be a fly on the wall at the meetings they were having at the US State Department on Friday.
Caitlin Johnstone is an Australian independent journalist and poet. Her articles include The UN Torture Report On Assange Is An Indictment Of Our Entire Society. She publishes a website and Caitlin’s Newsletter. This article is republished with permission.