By Charlie Kimber
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South Africa charges Israel with genocide

South Africa is asking the courts to stop Israeli operations while considering the full case of genocidal intent.
Issue 2887
South Africa

Peace Palace that houses the International court of Justice

The International Court of Justice was set this week to hear the South African government’s application to prevent Israel from committing genocide.

It says, “Israel has reduced and is continuing to reduce Gaza to rubble, killing, harming and destroying its people, and creating conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction as a group.” It goes on in an 84-page indictment to lay out Israeli crimes in detail.

South Africa details numerous examples of “direct and public incitement to commit genocide by Israeli state officials”, including by the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. The threats to make Gaza permanently uninhabitable and the references to Palestinians as human animals are all documented in the claim.

South Africa asks the court to call for a halt to Israeli operations while considering the full case of genocidal intent.

The US rushed to Israel’s support.

“We find this submission meritless, counterproductive, and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever,” the White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said last week.

The British government is not supporting the South African submission. But six weeks ago it supported claims that Myanmar committed genocide against the Rohingya ethnic group through its mass mistreatment of children and systematically depriving people of their homes and food.

These are precisely some of Israel’s crimes. It will be weeks before the ICJ comes to a decision. 

But in any case Israel will ignore it—as the apartheid South African ignored similar rulings in the 1980s.

Boycotting could be banned 

The Tories are out to pass a new law to outlaw solidarity with Palestine. On Wednesday this week the government’s anti-boycott bill was set to return to parliament for its third reading in the House of Commons.

If passed, this bill will prevent public bodies—including local councils, universities, and public sector pension funds—from making a range of choices about spending and investment and ban their participation in political boycotts—especially those against Israel.

It will shield companies engaged in human rights abuse or environmental destruction by preventing public bodies from cutting financial ties with them. 

Had it been in place during the 1980s, it would have forced councils and British universities to do business with the racist apartheid regime in South Africa.

British universities invest around £422 million in companies that support Israel’s illegal military occupation. 

Whatever happens in parliament this week, campaigns have to increase to break councils and universities from any support for Israel. 

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