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South Africa says Israel’s attack on Gaza is undermining the ICJ

March 20, 2024 at 11:45 am

South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor (C) speaks to press members following the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling for Gaza in Lahey, Netherlands on January 26, 2024. [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu via Getty Images]

South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor accused Israel yesterday of setting a precedent in defying the decisions of the International Court of Justice, the highest court in the UN also known as the World Court, and insisted again that Gaza is witnessing a deliberate “starvation” campaign.

South Africa took Israel to the ICJ in December, accusing it of committing genocide in the military offensive it has been waging since October. Pretoria’s move angered Israel and was condemned by the US.

Pandor pointed out that Israel has defied the ICJ’s January ruling which ordered the occupation state to do everything in its power to prevent genocide. Earlier this month, Pretoria asked the ICJ to impose “provisional measures” to put an end to the “widespread starvation” occurring as a result of Israel’s military attack in Gaza.

Pandor made her comments at a symposium at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace during a visit to Washington DC. “The provisional measures have been entirely ignored by Israel,” she warned. “We’re seeing mass starvation now and famine before our very eyes. I think we, as humanity, need to look at ourselves in horror and dismay and to be really worried that we have set an example.”

The minister noted that Israel’s actions may be interpreted by other nations that they have a licence to do what they want and will not be stopped.

She added that South Africa’s post-apartheid democracy, in going through international institutions on this issue, was “merely practicing what is preached to us every day” by the West. “The ICJ has not been respected. And the day that an African disrespects [the court] I hope we don’t go to that leader and say ‘Listen, you’re out of bounds; because you’re an African, we expect you to obey’.”

South Africa once again petitioned the court in The Hague to order measures for Israel to stop “widespread starvation” due to its attack on Gaza.

Israel denounced the petition, describing it arrogantly as “morally repugnant” and noting initiatives it is taking, including suspending aggression for humanitarian reasons.

A food security assessment backed by the UN has found that Gaza faces imminent famine, with about 1.1 million people, or nearly half of the population, suffering from “catastrophic” hunger.

READ: Israel’s restrictions on Gaza aid may be war crime, says UN rights office