On 29 December 2023, South Africa filed a case against Israel with the International Court of Justice (the Court), citing a breach of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Convention).
Yet, the Application document (the Application), despite its crucial and horrifying details, still lacks the attention it deserves. These significant details serve as vital reference points to understand the situation in Palestine and its global implications.
Reiterating the shocking civilian death toll from Israeli military operation in three months (Figure 1) and scrupulously compiling extensive evidence of Israeli crimes (pages 9 to 70 of the Application), South Africa’s submission loudly signals to the international community an urgent need to understand what’s going on by broadening our perspectives, aiming to promptly halt ongoing atrocities and mitigate the potential bigger future bloodshed.
Essentially, South Africa seeks to protect its erga omnes rights as a Contracting Party to the Genocide Convention (under Article VIII, IX, any Contracting Party to the Convention can bring proceedings against another Contracting Party, which Israel is just as South Africa, in the Court, even if it has no direct connection with the conflict in question) as well as to fulfill the erga omnes obligations (Article I) it has to prevent the act of genocide (defined in Article I, II and III).
Importantly, the Convention delineates genocide as a crime under international law irrespective of the context “of peace” or “of war” in which it takes place.
However, the symbolism and significance of this event go deeper.
As mentioned, the Application provides a “detailed factual account” that “draws in significant part on statements and reports by UN chiefs and bodies and non-governmental organisations (‘NGOs’), as well as eye-witness accounts from Gaza — including from Palestinian journalists on the ground — in circumstances where Israel continues to restrict access to Gaza by international journalists, investigators and fact-finding teams” all of this “to establish prima facie the existence of a dispute between the Parties relating to the interpretation, application or fulfillment of the Genocide Convention”.
The Application gathered evidence revealing that actions by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israeli government extend far beyond military necessity and amount to deliberate collective punishment, employing intimidation, humiliation, and outright terror against the Palestinian population.
Summarizing 62 of 86 pages of the Application solely documenting these atrocities, particularly those within the last three months, is daunting.
This emotionally challenging document deserves widespread readership, though it’s nearly impossible to read it without sobbing on every page unless you have a heart of stone.
While the collected facts focus mainly on 7 October 2023 onward, they are appropriately framed within the context of 75-years-apartheid, 56-years-occupation, and 16 years of Gaza blockade.
The documented atrocities against Palestinians by Israeli forces, particularly in Gaza, can be broadly categorized as in Figure 2, displaying blatant indiscriminate disregard for any form of life and over-qualification for genocide definition by the Convention.
Additionally, the systematic wide-scale destruction and violence against civilians, coupled with numerous public statements (unambiguously interpreted as genocide-inciting rhetoric) by top Israel government officials, senior military figures, and anecdotal IDF soldier testimonies (well-documented in the Application), unmistakably suggest deliberate military policy to inflict humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza leading to intentionally adopted war tactics that appear rational (from their wicked strategic standpoint), except, of course, lack any humane element and grossly violate the law of war.
As a deliberate military policy, the complete collapse of life-supporting infrastructure in Gaza works well for Israel — “nowhere is safe in Gaza” will urge civilians to flee anywhere except Gaza.
However, holding this crowd in a complete siege will intensify the horror and the urge to flee while also ensuring that it will quickly use up ALL the remaining life-supporting resources, leaving nothing for combatants — the perfect moment to ease the siege (stop bombing the borders), letting the shaken survivors, including Hamas and all the irregular formations, simply pour out (likely, the large mass to Egypt), greatly destabilizing the region while creating civil unrests and more bloodshed.
Have we not seen these war tactics applied before? Take, for example, Mosul, Iraq.
Speaking of the devil, Israel’s interests seem to align closely with those of their influential ally.
The proxy war in Ukraine, intended to benefit the US military complex and the troubled dollar, appears to have stalled, failing to produce the desired spillover effect into Europe — for a fuller historical account and data, also read “Russian-Ukrainian conflict: Deconstructing Minsk Agreement truthfully”, “Petrodollar aarfare: Oil, Russia, and the future of the Dollar” and “De-dollarisation: Elbowing USD in a multipolar world” by EMIR Research.
Notably, unashamed of lack of morality, the US is open about it: “If you look at the investments that we’ve made in Ukraine’s defense to deal with this aggression, 90% of the security assistance we’ve provided has actually been spent here in the United States with our manufacturers, with our production, and that’s produced more American jobs, more growth in our own economy” — press statement by US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.
Only he forgot to mention how this will arrest US social welfare and economic growth in the long term and fuel inflation to be shouldered by all the ordinary Americans versus the over-bloated corrupt establishment within its military-industrial complex.
Hence, similar objectives are achievable by igniting wide-scale armed conflict in the Middle East.
Moreover, given Israel’s destabilizing tactics in the region, the US might have overestimated the potential for control of the Suez Canal (perhaps without realizing the real risk of being outmaneuvered here) as a means to counterbalance China in the Asia Pacific.
Meanwhile, if everyone around is preoccupied with internal bloodshed conflicts, Israel finds it opportune to assimilate the remaining Palestinian landscape into the “uni-ethnically” Israeli.
This strategy prompted Israel to engage aggressively with neighboring countries like Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, and Syria.
However, the US-Israeli plan hugely relied on speed to prevent information leaks from Gaza while Israel has at least some international support, hence, intense bombardments, electricity cut-offs, destruction of hospital solar panels (sometimes along with the hospitals), and unprecedented killings of journalists and humanitarian workers.
But war can’t be fought on completely borrowed terms — Israel spent bullets and missiles faster than the US could supply, prompting US requests for “humanitarian” and “low-intensity” tactics to help Israel keep their face.
Plus, despite vigilant efforts, information from Gaza inundated social networks, causing a dramatic shift in public opinion.
Losing the information war often means losing on the ground, making South Africa’s Application crucial in this context.
The Court’s rulings are final but often lack enforceability, relying on the UN, which has a consistent track record of closing eyes on Israeli atrocities irrespective of the Court’s decisions, reflecting decades of US-Israeli political exceptionalism and arrogant impunity.
Still, the Court could order emergency measures during the lengthy case, leading to the factual collapse of Israel’s plan and the nation itself if global condemnation continues growing, to which precondition is now well established.
Going to court and using the word “genocide” is, if nothing else, but a powerful way to frame the global debate about a conflict, especially given the thickness and weight of evidence attached to it.
After all, there is the Court, there is the UN, but there is also the global community that reads the Application and sees things!
And there is also BRICS’s growing popularity and influence. Countries from the Global South, with histories of enduring colonialism, including genocide and apartheid, are lining up to join BRICS, the platform originally designed to promote international law, equality, mutual respect, cooperation, collective decision-making, and UN reform for increased efficiency.
Symbolically, South Africa stands as a vibrant representative of the Global South, ensuring the Application naturally gains traction within this bloc.
Thus, Europe, being overflooded with migrants from the Global South, particularly from Muslim countries (a potential catalyst for those seeking to incite widespread armed unrest), must stay alert.
And EU should start charting their own destiny instead of following the US instructions that already led them into terrible economic doldrums.
In the same vein, Middle Eastern countries should remain extra vigilant right now and work diligently on the diplomatic level to extend extraordinary cooperation in refraining from reacting to US-Israeli provocation.
People who are fed-up with US-Israeli political exceptionalism and excessiveness must no longer die in socially-engineered civil unrests somewhere in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, or Yemen, while saving the US economy.
Through the arbitrary invocation of humanitarian “pauses” and “low intensity” war, the whole world witnessed that Israel is also toothless without US support.
Therefore, the best way to “retaliate” now is not to allow the US to achieve its goal — wide-scale bloodshed to save their corrupt establishment within military-industrial complex.
Simply allow the natural decadence, reformation, and transformation, towards living on a sustained basis without benefit of war, to take place.
This will benefit all, including the ordinary Americans whose tax-money could be redirected towards productive civilian capital, combating inflation and providing better focus on other domestic needs!
(Dr. Rais Hussin is the Founder of EMIR Research, a think tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research.)