Last week, the world was forced to listen to South Africa’s outrageous claims accusing Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.
Presented to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), this accusation of genocide against Israel, a state born in the shadow of the Holocaust during which six million Jews were systematically exterminated, was deeply painful and offensive to the Israeli people, the global Jewish community, and friends and allies around the world. We are acutely aware of what genocide actually looks like.
These accusations have been leveled against a state that is acting in self-defense following a barbaric terror attack by Hamas. The attack involved the murder, mutilation, rape, and torture of over 1,200 people, along with the kidnapping of some 240 hostages, making the accusations even more outrageous.
The global community should be ashamed for standing idly by while South Africa defends Hamas in this international body meant to uphold justice.
The hypocrisy and absurdity are deepened by the fact that Israel has always taken, and continues to take, extraordinary measures to prevent civilian deaths and provide humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. It does so while IDF forces operate in an incredibly complex war zone, where Hamas embeds itself in the civilian population, uses Palestinians as human shields, manufactures, stores, and fires missiles from within civilian infrastructure, and attempts to divert aid intended for civilians to support its operations.
The South African delegation’s libelous attack against Israel ignores the reality of Hamas’ October 7 attack and the facts on the ground of the Israel-Hamas war. Its distorted arguments are an affront to justice and a distraction from the actions of Hamas, the sole entity with genocidal intentions. Making matters worse, should the Court impose the measures proposed by South Africa, it would reward Hamas and its commission of brutal acts of terrorism against those who stand for humanity.
The Jewish Diaspora and all allies of Israel should take pride in the clear arguments presented by the Israeli delegation. These arguments demonstrated that Israel is acting out of necessity to protect its people, and the IDF is not only operating within the confines of international law but is also going to unprecedented lengths to safeguard the Palestinian people — all while fully acknowledging the tragic reality that civilians have died in its war against Hamas and mourning that loss.
Israel’s affirmation that it fully intends to continue using protective measures that are in line with international law and reflect Israel’s core values is all the more laudable given that it is fighting a lawless terror army that actively seeks to endanger civilians, facts that South Africa shamefully omitted in its arguments.
As the Court’s judges deliberate whether and what provisional measures might be appropriate, there is only one possible just outcome: affirmation of Israel’s right to continue to defend its people against Hamas and eliminate the threat the group poses to both the Israeli and the Palestinian people, in line with international law. There is simply no other choice.
Last week, Germany announced it will intervene in the case, affirming that “[t]his accusation has no basis whatsoever.” US National Security Adviser John Kirby called the allegations “meritless, counterproductive, and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever.”
Just as the United States, Germany, and others have stood up for what is right, the rest of the international community must do the same. All peace-loving nations need to denounce the malicious, baseless charges leveled by South Africa and the harm that would result from the measures it seeks. The Court must not inadvertently give Hamas and other terror groups the upper hand by siding with South Africa and incentivizing the same cruelty and barbarism and make more likely the future use of the same acts of evil that Hamas perpetrated on October 7.