Palestinians on 10 November 2023 inspect a building destroyed by an Israeli air strike on the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. [Picture: Shutterstock/Anas-Mohammed]
The year 2024 is off to a dramatic start as the global balance of power shifts. This is according to a number of experts who believe Apartheid Israel’s genocide in Gaza has begun tipping the scales in favour of justice.
Several experts, in a panel discussion hosted by Salaamedia on Wednesday evening, concurred that the world order as it was known was in its last days. The atrocities in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank have reawakened a quest for justice in the Global South, they declared.
Notwithstanding discrepancies between the views of the public and their governments regarding Palestine, Shahd Hammouri offered the view that South Africa’s decision to take Israel to the World Court was a moment of triumph over existing power dynamics.
Said the lecturer at the United Kingdom-based Kent Law School: “What South Africa did was a very important attempt to get the sound of justice over the sound of power. By that, it shook the premises of the power dynamics in the world we live in and the status quo of the world we live in”.
Shifting dynamics and Gaza
In 2023, the voices of the Global South – underdeveloped countries subject to colonialism and imperialism in the recent past – emerged more powerfully on the global stage as countries vied to align themselves amid the Russia-Ukraine war.
The queue of nations hoping to join the BRICS group marked a significant sign that the predominant Group of 7 was being rivalled. This shift is further being accentuated by Israel’s terror in Palestine. It is something Hammouri recognised was happening.
“What these powers are forgetting is that the world is changing. No power that has ever taken the stage has managed to keep that space for itself. We can see there’s a huge shift economically and politically,” she posited.
Moreover, the fact that more than 60 countries will head to the polls this year might also have something to do with the shifting dynamics. At home, for example, the African National Congress (ANC), might benefit from an outward moral stance which would serve them well contrasted with anger towards the rival Democratic Alliance’s (DA) stance.
Speaking out of Ramallah, Palestine, Wesam Ahmad, the head of Centre for Applied International Law at Al-Haq, agreed times were changing.
“Today, that international system of the rules-based order that has been developed over time to regulate this continued colonial project is now being tested. We have pushed red lines and South Africa has taken this very brave decision to challenge the international system and hold it to account,” he said.
Central to the discussion were the diplomatic repercussions a move like that which Pretoria recently took could have. The panellists were largely of the view that, if anything, the regime made more friends than enemies.
More than 100 countries agreed to back SA’s genocide case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) and Germany were among those vehemently opposed to the court action, which dealt a blow to Israel as it ordered that country to desist from committing genocide against the Palestinians.
Hammouri suggested that SA was “privileged in its capacity” as it was able to challenge the status quo in a way that many of its counterparts in the marginalised world could not.
Acknowledging the potential fallout with states opposed to the case in The Hague, she said the country was also able to make “a lot of new friends” because many “now recognise and affiliate with South Africa” as a “friend and a representative of their voice”.
Ahmad said the current order, built largely in the wake of the Second World War, would soon be replaced by a new one. “Unfortunately, the blood spilt in Gaza will contribute to the development of a new world order,” he said.
“The international system as it’s been marketed to much of the world … has been exposed to be a facade. This realisation will lead to the changes that much of the world wants to see because it’s clear that there is an inequitable distribution of power, of wealth.”
Meanwhile, international relations minister Dr Naledi Pandor on Wednesday told the media that Israel, in a gross display of arrogance, failed to heed the ICJ interim order. She implored other countries to ensure accountability as Tel Aviv racked up civilian casualties in Palestine.
“It remains vital for us as member states to ensure that we respect and implement decisions of the court. I suppose what confronts us now is, what do we do if there is no implementation, and that is the question all nations must answer today because it is a body of the UN that has set out these provisional measures,” she said.
Since the interim ruling by the highest court of the United Nations, Israel has pressed on with its assault on Palestine, killing more than 1 000 civilians in less than a week. A total of 26 900 people have been killed since 7 October.