Amnesty International welcomes ICJ order against Israel

The FF+ says the case raises the question of why the government spent so much money on the case while 76 people are murdered in South Africa every day.

26 January 2024 - 21:50
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International relations and co-operation director-general Zane Dangor, minister Naledi Pandor and South African ambassador to the Netherlands Vusimuzi Madonsela at the ICJ on Friday.
International relations and co-operation director-general Zane Dangor, minister Naledi Pandor and South African ambassador to the Netherlands Vusimuzi Madonsela at the ICJ on Friday.
Image: PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW/Reuters

There has been mixed reaction from political parties and human rights bodies to the International Court of Justice's order in South Africa's genocide case against Israel on Friday.

Amnesty International said the court’s order was an important step that could help protect the Palestinian people in the occupied Gaza Strip from further suffering and irreparable harm. 

It said the court's decision was an authoritative reminder of the crucial role of international law in preventing genocide and protecting victims of atrocity crimes.

“It sends a clear message that the world will not stand by in silence as Israel pursues a ruthless military campaign to decimate the population of the Gaza Strip and unleash death, horror and suffering against Palestinians on an unprecedented scale,” said Agnès Callamard, secretary-general of Amnesty International.

She said the ICJ decision alone could not put an end to the atrocities and devastation Gazans were witnessing.   

“Alarming signs of genocide in Gaza, and Israel’s flagrant disregard for international law, highlight the urgent need for effective, unified pressure on Israel to stop its onslaught against Palestinians.

“An immediate ceasefire by all parties remains essential and — though not ordered by the court — is the most effective condition to implement the provisional measures and end unprecedented civilian suffering.” 

Amnesty International said more than 26,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in Israel’s unrelenting bombardment of Gaza with some 10,000 believed to be still missing under the rubble.

It said at least 1.8 million Palestinians have been internally displaced and are deprived of access to adequate food, water, shelter, sanitation and medical assistance.   

“Amnesty International calls on Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups to immediately suspend all military operations in Gaza.

“Israel must lift its illegal and inhuman siege and allow the unhindered and unconditional flow of desperately needed humanitarian aid to Palestinians, who are suffering from a deliberately engineered famine. We urge Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups to release all remaining civilian hostages,” the organisation said. 

The DA welcomed the court’s swift pronouncement on provisional relief measures and called for Israel to abide by the ICJ’s ruling to avoid and prevent genocide. 

The party also called for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to immediately recommit to a negotiated two-state solution. The DA said all civilian hostages kidnapped on and after October 7 should be released and Hamas must disarm. 

DA shadow minister of international relations and co-operation Emma Louise Powell said the DA remained committed to a viable and sustainable two-state solution based on UN Security Council resolutions.

“Our vision is for a sovereign Palestine, coexisting in peace next to a secure Israel.” 

The FF+ said the court order highlighted the ANC government's double standards. 

It inevitably raises the question of why government spent so much money on this case while 76 people are murdered in South Africa every day,” FF+ leader Pieter Groenewald said.

He said the court's ruling made it clear that Israel was not committing Palestinian genocide in Gaza. 

Groenewald said the government should have used the money it spent on the case on addressing issues in South Africa instead as the country was experiencing a major financial crisis.

“The ANC is clearly only exploiting the situation to divert attention away from the dire circumstances in its own country to benefit a certain part of the population.

“In the process, the safety of all South Africans, the terrible living conditions of millions and the sky-high murder rate are all conveniently overlooked.” 

He said the FF+ would ask questions in parliament to determine how much this case cost South African taxpayers. 

The FW de Klerk Foundation said the court's grave concern about the fate of the Israeli hostages and its call for their immediate and unconditional release underscored the urgency of addressing all aspects of the conflict and prioritising the safe return of those unlawfully detained. 

TimesLIVE 


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