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SA warned to brace for ‘tough’ time after challenging Israel

by Zahid Jadwat

Fighting Israel in the World Court means the country might face a tough time ahead, according to an expert. [Picture: AP Photo/Patrick Post]


South Africa’s decision to take Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) could come at a cost, warned an expert. This after an agitated legal team appeared on behalf of the apartheid state to present oral arguments in The Hague on Friday.

“For South Africa, I think the next 18 months will be a difficult time,” said Daniel Kinnear from Africa Insights, a South African think tank, in a panel discussion on Salaamedia. “We are going into an election year, [making] it more difficult.

The terrorist regime presented its response to SA’s accusation of genocide at the World Court on Friday. It was the first time Israel was dragged before the highest legal body within the United Nations (UN) framework since its colonial project began in Palestine in 1948.

In their oral arguments on Thursday, the SA legal team argued their case that Israel was committing genocide in the Gaza Strip. Since it began bombarding the besieged enclave in early October, the country has killed at least 23 708 Palestinians and injured 60 005 others.


SMread: SA’s ‘historic’ presentation at World Court

Foreign pressure

Speaking after the world watched Israel’s lawyers clutch at thin straws to defend their country’s atrocities in Palestine, Kinnear said SA’s decision to approach the court would attract “a lot of pressure, direct and indirect”.

Elections within SA and in other countries, he said, added to the tension. “This flux makes it a very dangerous time we’re going into as a world, but also South Africa is going into this period of uncertainty,” he said.

“We hope that the South African government is aware of the road ahead and will take the necessary steps to secure not only its frontiers, but to secure its institutions … There are signals that we have a tough road ahead for South Africa,” he said, noting previous attempts – such as the Lady R saga – to pressure SA into towing the line.


SMread: SA prepare’s for genocide case against Israel

‘Weak start’ for Israel

It was not a good day for the legal team representing Israel at the ICJ on Friday. Other than insisting on the narrative that Hamas’s resistance attacks of 7 October occurred in a vacuum, they put up a sad performance, according to commentators.

Speaking during a pause in the hearings, political analyst Marwan Bishara told Al Jazeera that Israel’s comparisons between its own actions and those of resistance movement Hamas were “almost illogical”.

“The idea of Hamas’s damage to Gaza with Israel’s damage to Gaza was just almost illogical. Saying that Hamas also booby-trapped buildings, when we know how tens of thousands of bombs were dropped on Gaza by Israel … seems very weak.”

He added that Israel’s claims that it did not target civilians belied its military activities on the ground in the Gaza Strip.

“The idea of benevolence, how Israel does not aim to destroy civilians but protect civilians, was way beyond the logic of what we’ve seen unravel over the past three months.”

After two days of oral arguments, the 17 judges on the ICJ will now consider whether to grant the urgent provisional measures – including the cessation of military activity – sought by SA.

“On the facts we have seen, it’s difficult to see the court making a ruling that is totally in favour of Israel’s demands. It’s inconceivable that a neutral court could ignore the gravity of what South Africa has brought to court,” said Kinnear.

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