|Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Important International institutions
The South Africa-Israel case at ICJ sheds light on geopolitical tensions, genocide allegations, and global calls for Gaza ceasefire, relevant for UPSC aspirants.
- The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague is currently holding a preliminary hearing on South Africa’s case against Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.
- The case has attracted global attention, standing out among other proceedings at this elite inter-state forum.
- South Africa, having overcome its apartheid past, accuses Israel of practicing ‘apartheid’ against the Palestinian people for 75 years since 1948.
- Israel asserts it is acting in the interest of justice and humanity and vehemently denies any accusation of genocide.
- Both countries experienced diplomatic isolation in the past century, with countries and sporting bodies boycotting them, yet they had the support of their western allies.
- Today, apart from a few allies, the entire world supports a ceasefire in Gaza to alleviate the suffering of its people.
- South Africa aims to demonstrate that some of Israel’s actions fall within the terms of the Genocide Convention, alleging ‘genocidal intent.’
- It relies on data regarding deaths, destruction, and the collapse of civilian life and health infrastructure in Gaza.
- Statements attributed to key Israeli government figures are highlighted as evidence of ‘genocidal intent.’
- Provisional measures sought include a suspension of military operations and steps to prevent genocide.
- Israel characterizes the South African case as ‘blood libel’ but argues that its Gaza operations are a legitimate response to a terrorist attack on October 7 of the previous year.
- Israel downplays the relevance of its leaders’ statements, dismissing them as mere rhetoric.
- Civilian casualties are attributed to Hamas using civilians as shields and utilizing hospitals for storing explosives and launching pads for attacks.
- The central issue before the court is straightforward, focusing on whether Israel will abide by any provisional measures.
- There is historical precedent, as Russia ignored an ICJ order to suspend its operations in Ukraine in March 2022.
- Despite any potential non-compliance, any provisional measure is likely to cast a shadow on the legitimacy of Israel’s Gaza war.
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