South Africa urges ICJ to turn up the heat on Israel

South Africa once again put the pressure on the International Court of Justice (ICJ), on March 6, to act upon Israel’s repeated genocidal actions in Gaza, Al Jazeera reported.

The country’s plea for urgent action and further provisional measures by the UN’s top court comes after the Flour Massacre in Gaza City on February 29 when over 100 were killed and thousands more were wounded as Israeli forces gunned down desperate residents who were attempting to pull flour and cooking oil from an aid convoy. 

The death toll in the enclave is now at 31,000 and one in four families are enduring famine-like conditions, often resorting to eating grass and animal feed due to a lack of aid being let in. 

It has been reported that 20 children have died of starvation in the past week alone. 

South Africa noted, “The extreme gravity of the situation facing Palestinian men, women, children and babies, and the existential risk the Palestinian people in Gaza face as a result of Israel’s genocidal military campaign demands further action by the court” 

Experts have said that should the international community take insufficient action, 85,000 Gazans will die of starvation within half a year.

On December 29, 2023, South Africa submitted an 84-page document which described in detail genocidal acts the Middle Eastern state was carrying out in the besieged Palestinian enclave since October 7. 

READ: ICJ rules Israel committed genocide but won’t call Gaza ceasefire

A verdict was then reached by the court on January 26 which ruled that Israel must limit civilian deaths, let food into Gaza and hold to account those inciting and/or carrying out genocide. The court, however did not call for a ceasefire. 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office said in a recent statement, “Regrettably, Israel has not complied with the court’s binding order but has instead escalated its genocidal acts against the Palestinian people. The situation, then perilous, is now so terrifying as to be unspeakable.” 

The statement requested what provisional measures should take place: “Immediately suspending its military operations in Gaza; lifting its blockade of Gaza; and rescinding all other existing measures and practices that directly or indirectly have the effect of obstructing the access of Palestinians in Gaza to humanitarian assistance and basic services, and ensuring the provision of adequate and sufficient food, water, fuel, shelter, clothing, hygiene and sanitation requirements, and medical assistance including medical supplies and support.” 

As well as the massacre in Gaza City at the end of last month, the South Africans have raised concerns over a potential ground invasion of the enclave’s most southern city, Rafah. 

Although 2 Israeli hostages were freed, brutal Israeli forces killed 70 Palestinians in one day alone on February 12 and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for continued military pressure on the city now home to 1.5 million people due to mass internal displacement. 

Al Jazeera

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