Ahead of ICJ Verdict, Israeli Onslaught Continued

A global human rights coalition expressed hope Thursday that the imminent verdict by the International Court of Justice will be a step toward stopping the genocide.

On Oct. 8, 2023, Ruins left by Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis in the southern of Gaza strip. (Mahmoud Fareed, Wafa for APAimages)

By Julia Conley
Common Dreams

A global human rights coalition expressed hope Thursday that the imminent verdict by the International Court of Justice will be a step toward “stopping the genocide in Palestine” as authorities in Gaza reported new attacks on civilians and alleged violations of international law. 

The ICJ said this week that it will announce its verdict on Friday at 7:00 am ET in the genocide case brought by South Africa against Israel.

The verdict comes two weeks after South African officials presented evidence not only that Israel is carrying out the “mass killing of Palestinians in Gaza,” but also that top Israeli officials have made clear that their goal in the military operation that’s now stretched on for nearly four months is to clear Gaza of the 2.3 million people who live there — either by killing them with air and ground attacks or by forcing them to leave.

Along with United Nations officials, international human rights experts, and a growing number of policymakers from across the globe, South Africa has argued that Israel is engaged in a genocidal assault in Gaza and has committed numerous violations of international law. The country called on the ICJ to adopt “provisional measures” to force Israel — which does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction but is a party to the Genocide Convention — to stop its mass killing and displacement of Gazans.

Rights groups including the PAL Commission on War Crimes, the International Coalition to Stop Genocide in Palestine (ICSGP), the Global Legal Alliance for Palestine and the Palestinian Assembly for Liberation (PAL) said Thursday that they plan to hold a press conference outside the U.N. headquarters following the announcement of the verdict. 

Regardless of the ICJ’s decision, noted PAL Commission on War Crimes founder Lamis Deek, South Africa and its supporters will have to determine “how to deal with the anticipated U.S.-Israeli obstruction of that decision.”

“On Friday we will respond to the court’s decision and issue calls on state parties to the ICJ and the Genocide Convention as regards their compliance obligations, and address our legal colleagues and our communities regarding the next steps we think will be most critical on the heels of this decision,” said Deek.

“The brutal Israeli genocide and torture in Gaza, alongside the targeted assassinations, destruction of civilian infrastructure including all of Gaza’s hospitals and universities, blocking of aid, and use of starvation and spread of disease as a war tactic, constitute a grotesque series of the highest war crimes.”

Should the court rule in South Africa’s favor, added Adrienne Pine, co-coordinator of the ICSGP, “it is the international community’s responsibility to ensure that Israel obeys this verdict without delay.”

Ahead of the ICJ’s verdict, the death toll in Gaza reached at least 25,700, including at least 10,000 children. Israel has claimed that it is targeting Hamas in retaliation for its Oct. 7 attack, and numerous top officials have said they view all Gaza residents as legitimate military targets — a potential violation of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit collective punishment of a population for the actions of a government or armed group. 

On Thursday, human rights experts made clear that Israel’s assault is showing no signs of slowing as the world awaits the verdict, with U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) affairs director Thomas White reiterating that attacks on civilians are “utterly unacceptable.”

White said fighting intensified in Khan Younis near hospitals, shelters, and a UNRWA training center, all of which are hosting displaced people.

“Twelve people have now been confirmed dead with over 75 injuries, 15 of whom are in a critical condition. Yesterday, the center was hit by two shells and caught fire,” said White.

“Heavy fighting near the remaining hospitals in Khan Younis, including Nasser and Al Amal, has effectively encircled these facilities, leaving terrified staff, patients, and displaced people trapped inside. Al Khair hospital has shut down after patients, including women who had just undergone C-section surgeries, were evacuated in the middle of the night.” 

“The situation in Khan Younis underscores a consistent failure to uphold the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law: distinction, proportionality, and precautions in carrying out attacks,” said White. “This is unacceptable and abhorrent and must stop.” 

Al Jazeera reported that at least 20 Palestinians were killed and 150 more were injured when the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched an attack on people waiting for humanitarian relief in Gaza City. 

“The Israeli occupation committed a new massacre against thousands of hungry mouths who were waiting for aid,” said Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesperson for the Gaza Ministry of Health—whose reporting on casualties has long been backed by the U.N.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Environmental Quality Authority warned that two-thirds of Palestinians in Gaza are now suffering from water-borne illnesses because Israel’s blockade on fuel and aid has left the enclave without sufficient potable water and the ability to run desalination plants. 

Deek said the ICJ’s verdict “could profoundly reshape the geopolitical and legal topography” of how the world responds to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. 

“Billions of people have been waiting with bated breath for this historic moment,” said Deek, “that is poised to change international and domestic approaches — military, legal and political — to stopping the genocide in Palestine.”

Julia Conley is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

Views expressed in this article and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

7 comments for “Ahead of ICJ Verdict, Israeli Onslaught Continued

  1. Drew Hunkins
    January 26, 2024 at 12:02

    These lying land-grabbing ethnic-cleansing Zionists cannot be beat.

    They’re going to succeed in their grotesque and sickening genocide in Gaza. Then they’ll totally whitewash the history of it and most of academe will succumb. The few dissidents who know the score will be scoffed at, mocked and ridiculed.

    They’re indestructible. They’re the best and most slickest liars the world has ever seen. They’ll humiliate you, get you blackballed, denigrate you, or have their media organs totally ignore you if you’re an articulate, effective and committed anti-Zionist fighter.

    Their high verbal IQs make them extremely adept at running astonishingly adroit propaganda campaigns via all sectors of the mass media that they control.

    Absolutely no viable U.S. presidential candidate can even mildly buck them whatsoever.

  2. Melvin Hunhal
    January 26, 2024 at 02:49

    Why it is not called by the real name: Holocaust. Most of the victims are burned to death if not suffocated by the gases from the explosives.

  3. January 26, 2024 at 01:17

    US and Israeli policy is escalatory madness. it must fail or the world fails.

  4. firstpersoninfinite
    January 26, 2024 at 00:21

    I believe it was Chris Hedges who said of our society’s descent into chaos: “there are willing victims and there are unwilling victims.” Palestinians are unwilling victims. The rest of us will become willing victims to what happens next if this is allowed to continue. What strictures upon society will be left then? Tomorrow’s news could be that no news is left that will matter. It’s hard to believe that any society could believe that life will go on as it did before, whatever the decision and whatever the outcome.

    • mad as hell
      January 26, 2024 at 13:38

      fyi – I think that’s worthy and unworthy victims

  5. Joseph Tracy
    January 25, 2024 at 21:02

    Nothing about the consequences if the court agrees with S. Africa. Do we really need experts to explain that or is there a body of law? Would Israeli or US leaders be subject to arrest in countries that are represented on the court? Would a full scale trial for the crime of genocide proceed in the court? Would the US be part of a larger court proceeding. What is the agent of enforcement? Or would the world have to acknowledge that we do not live with any access to the rule of law but are subjects of local imperial or national military power, and that no matter what nominal local law or national constitution claims jurisdiction.

  6. Drew Hunkins
    January 25, 2024 at 18:29

    Four percent of Gaza’s population is now injured or dead, dogs are eating Palestinian corpses in Gaza, reprehensible stuff that speaks to the level of depravity the Jewish supremacists in Israel will lower themselves to in order to ethnically cleanse Gaza because of their paranoid delusions, idiotic religious hubris, and land confiscation projects.

    That otherwise intelligent and knowledgeable American scribes, pundits, journalists, intellectuals, academics, and media talking heads remain silent or issue only lazy and weak criticisms against “both sides” is beyond the pale and speaks to a self-serving cowardice that knows no bounds.

    How do these immoral sick monsters sleep at night? It’s an honest question. Yes, they’re getting paid handsomely to watch Palestinian children in crowded and filthy emergency rooms be operated on without anesthetic as surgeons cut into their young arms, legs, bellies, faces, and genitalia to repair gaping and ghastly wounds the Jew supremacists inflicted with U.S. supplied weapons, but isn’t there a limit to how debased even the most greedy and sociopathic fiend can drop to?

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