United Nations Court Makes Decision About Israel

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Photo Credit: edu_castro27, via Pixabay

The International Court of Justice, the UN’s highest court, has ruled on the Israel-Hamas conflict. It has called on Israel to prevent acts of genocide against the Palestinian people, including by letting more aid in. However, it did not call on Israel to end its campaign.

The International Court of Justice was created in 1945 to resolve disputes between states, and the entire world has agreed to its jurisdiction. This is not to be confused with the International Criminal Court, which charges individuals with war crimes. The NY Times explains:

The United Nations’ highest court said on Friday that Israel must take action to prevent acts of genocide by its forces in Gaza and must let more aid into the enclave. But the court did not call on Israel to immediately suspend its military campaign.

The ruling, by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, was an initial step in a case brought by South Africa that accuses Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. Though the court has no means of enforcement, the closely watched case has deep resonance for both sides, and added to international pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Israel’s war against Hamas.

South Africa’s case against Israel produced a mixed result. The court confirmed Israel’s legitimacy to defend itself, but warned that its conduct itself was criminal. Apartheid South Africa used to be a close ally of Israel’s, developing nuclear weapons together, but the current government is now hostile to it. The Guardian reports on South Africa’s reaction:

In a televised address, South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, said: “Today, Israel stands before the international community, its crimes against the Palestinians laid bare … We expect Israel as a self-proclaimed democracy and a state that respects the rule of law to abide by the measures handed down.”

He criticised those who “told us we should mind our own business and not get involved in the affairs of other countries”.

Israel is increasingly isolated, and will have to find a humane solution for Palestinians after the war, even if not statehood. The Israeli public, however, seems committed more than ever to stand alone if necessary to protect its people.

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