According to a media report, Israel wants to build international pressure against South Africa's genocide lawsuit at the International Court of Justice in The Hague in the Gaza war. The aim is to avert an injunction from the court to immediately stop fighting, the news portal “Axios” reported last night, citing a copy of a telegram from the Israeli Foreign Ministry to its embassies abroad. It would instruct embassies to persuade local diplomats and politicians to issue a statement against South Africa's lawsuit. Hearings on the lawsuit are scheduled before the Court next week.
A good three months after the start of the war in the Gaza Strip against the Islamist Hamas, Israel has to answer for the ongoing military operation before an international court for the first time. South Africa had sued Israel before the highest UN court and accused it of genocide. The Court has scheduled the hearings for January 11th and 12th. The UN court's rulings are usually binding. However, judges have no power to force a state to implement it.
South Africa wants an end to violence against Palestinians
South Africa is citing the Genocide Convention in its lawsuit. Both states have signed this convention. From South Africa's perspective, the UN judges should first order an end to the violence against Palestinians in an urgent procedure in order to protect their rights.
Israel firmly rejected South Africa's allegations. Hamas is solely responsible for the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza. It was argued that Israel was doing everything in the war to keep the damage to the civilian population as low as possible.
A decision by the UN court could have significant potential consequences that are not only legal in nature, but also have practical bilateral, multilateral, economic and security policy consequences, according to Israel's diplomatic cable to its missions abroad, Axios reported. The portal received a copy of it from three Israeli officials.