South Africa brings Israel to the ICJ: Genocide by no other name

Not only Israel, but its backers in the United States and the entire UN system are in the dock.

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In the video above, Max Blumenthal and Aaron Maté of the Grayzone discuss the case against Israel and showcase some of the public discussions on Israeli media in which experts and officials have been describing babies and pregnant women as just as much of an enemy as armed resistance fighters.

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South Africa, mindful of its obligations as a signatory to the United Nations’ genocide convention, made an application to the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) to establish Israel’s responsibility for violations of the convention; to hold Israel fully accountable under international law for those violations; and to ask court to take urgent measures to ensure the urgent and fullest possible protection for Palestinians in Gaza, who remain at grave and immediate risk of continuing and further acts of genocide.

The background

According to South Africa, the various acts and omissions that make up Israel’s war on Gaza are genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group. These acts include killing huge numbers of Palestinians in Gaza, causing them serious bodily and mental harm, and inflicting on them conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction.

Intent is the most important element in proving that the crime of genocide has been committed. According to South Africa’s application, in all the genocides brought before the court over the last five decades, the evidence of intent is most glaring in the case of Palestine.

In preparing its application, South Africa has placed the accelerating genocide that has horrified the world over the last three months in the broader context of the ongoing Nakba against the Palestinian people. This began with the huge ethnic cleansing operation that accompanied the founding of the Israeli state, and has continued with the zionist regime’s conduct towards Palestinians during its 75-year apartheid rule, its 56-year illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, and its brutal 16-year siege of Gaza.

It includes a host of serious and ongoing violations of international law, grave breaches of the fourth Geneva convention, and a plethora of other war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Drawing on statements and reports from UN chiefs and bodies, from NGOs and eye witnesses, and from Israelis themselves, the South African legal team has put together a comprehensive and compelling 84-page application that has been described by commentators outside of the western corporate groupthink circles as simply irrefutable.

According to Judge Andrew Napolitano, the application is “a slam dunk for the plaintiffs, there is effectively no credible denying the nature of the allegations, which are hair-raising and horrific”. On the same episode of Judging Freedom, Grayzone founder Max Blumenthal pointed out: “The strongest point that the South African case has is that Israeli leaders have self-indicted by expressing their intent to commit genocide in a clearer way than any other country has during an armed conflict.” (10 January 2024)

The facts presented establish that, against a background of apartheid, expulsion, ethnic cleansing, annexation, occupation, discrimination, and the ongoing denial of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, Israel has since 7 October 2023 failed to prevent genocide and has failed to prosecute a multitude of direct and public incitements to genocide.

Repeated statements by state representatives at the highest levels, including by the Israel’s president, prime minister and defence minister, have expressed genocidal intent, and this has been reflected in the nature and conduct of Israel’s military actions, as well as in its decision to cut off supplies of food, water, medicine, fuel, shelter and other humanitarian assistance for the besieged and blockaded people of Gaza, which is deliberately pushing them into dehydration, famine, disease … and death.

South Africa and Israel are both members of the United Nations and are both parties to the genocide convention. As such, both have a duty to act in accordance with the obligations laid out in that convention: to take “all reasonable measures within their power to prevent genocide”.

Israel signed up to the convention on 17 August 1949, soon after the genocide of European jews at the hands of Nazi Germany. The spirit in which South Africa acceded to the convention in 1998, after decades of its own experience of apartheid and ethnic cleansing, was encapsulated in the words of founding president Nelson Mandela: “In extending our hands across the miles to the peoples of Palestine, we do so in full knowledge that we are part of a humanity that is at one.”

Based in the Hague (Netherlands), the ICJ is the UN’s highest court, officially tasked with settling disputes between states and giving advisory opinions on international legal issues. Of course, it has very rarely been given the chance or the power to fulfil these functions, since the imperialists only invoke the UN when it serves their interests and can be bent to their will, ignoring and bypassing it when it does not. While the ICJ does not have the power to bring prosecutions, its opinion carries weight with the UN and other international legal bodies.

Since a final verdict on whether Israel has really committed genocide could take years, what South Africa has filed for is an emergency order on provisional measures to stop the killing in Gaza.

The court is therefore being asked to establish whether such an order is necessary – in other words, whether at least some of the acts alleged to be taking place are capable of falling within the provisions of the genocide convention, and whether an order should therefore be made recommending that all such actions be stopped immediately.

The ICJ has no mechanism for implementing such a decision, and nor does the UN general assembly. In theory, the security council does have the power to organise action against Israel – but, as everyone knows, no action has ever been taken yet because Israel has always been shielded by the security council veto of its US imperialist patrons. Hence the extreme arrogance of zionist politicians, who have grown up and come to power in this atmosphere of total impunity thanks to the unconditional backing of the all-powerful Uncle Sam.

Whether the court is free to come to the conclusion that is obvious to the whole world, and whether the security council is free to demand action from Israel are just as much in the dock at this moment as is the zionist regime itself.

Zionist and imperialist responses to the action

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu angrily rejected the allegations when South Africa filed its lawsuit, declaring: “No, South Africa, it is not we who have come to perpetrate genocide, it is Hamas. It would murder all of us if it could. In contrast, the IDF [Israeli army] is acting as morally as possible.”

President Isaac Herzog told US secretary of state Antony Blinken that there is “nothing more atrocious and preposterous” than the lawsuit.

Despite the abundance of evidence, the Israeli government continues to deny that its conduct in Gaza violates its obligations under the genocide convention, asserting on its official website: “The accusation of genocide against Israel is not only wholly unfounded as a matter of fact and law, it is morally repugnant … antisemitic and deeply offensive to the memory of the victims of the holocaust.” (Our emphasis)

The Israeli president called up memories of mediaeval Europe by calling the claim a “blood libel”, while his government declared South Africa’s case to be lacking in a factual and legal basis and to constitute a “despicable and contemptuous exploitation of the court”. Israeli politicians and generals continue to insist that they have an absolute right to “defend” themselves against what they assert to be the worst attack on innocent jewish lives since the WW2 holocaust.

That great bastion of democracy the USA has made it equally clear it opposes the case. In a press briefing in early January, US national security spokesperson John Kirkby dismissed it as “meritless, counterproductive and completely without any basis in fact”. (Our emphasis)

The sagacious British foreign secretary Lord Cameron, meanwhile, admitted to being “worried” that Israel may have acted in breach of international law, but went on to declare that it is simply “not right” to “bandy round terms like genocide”.

British Conservative MP and former attorney-general Sir Michael Ellis wrote in the Sunday Times: “The loss of Palestinian civilian life is tragic. It would be heartless not to be dismayed by the rubble that now covers Gaza. But as a matter of law all war is not genocide. The evidence is that Israel tries to minimise civilian casualties, and this in itself disproves the very central charge of ‘intent’.” (South Africa’s case against Israel is a dangerous stunt, 11 January 2024, our emphasis)

Making the case for intent

But the case laid out by South Africa shows very clearly that Israel has not remotely confined itself to using appropriate, proportionate policing powers in response to the deaths of Israelis on 7 October. No matter how bad these were, say its lawyers, nothing can ever justify a genocidal response.

The people of the world are watching with interest as this unique battle unfolds. One party aims to stop a horrific genocide in Gaza that we have all been watching unfold in real time; the other party is perpetrating that genocide while proudly boasting of its achievements; and others still – the United States, Britain and the European imperialists – are actively supporting and shielding the perpetrator.

With the crimes continuing daily and hourly, every figure is out of date as soon as it is written down. At the time South Africa was drafting its application, Israel had been conducting a sustained bombardment of the Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated places in the world, for more than 11 weeks, forcing the evacuation of 1.9 million people (85 percent of the population) from their homes and herding them into ever smaller areas, without adequate shelter, in which they continue to be attacked and killed, injured, starved and otherwise harmed.

Israel has now killed in excess of 23,000 named Palestinians, including over 7,729 children, while at least 7,780 others are missing, presumed dead or slowly dying under the rubble. Its bombing has injured at least 55,243 people, causing them severe bodily and mental harm. Moreover, now that electricity and medicines have all run out, amputations and other operations required by the wounded are carried out in unsanitary conditions, often simply on the floor, and without anaesthetic, antibiotics or pain relief.

During this blitzkrieg, Israel has laid waste to vast areas of Gaza, with whole neighbourhoods wiped out. More than 355,000 Palestinian homes have been damaged or destroyed, as have extensive tracts of agricultural land, bakeries, schools, universities, businesses, places of worship, cemeteries, cultural and archaeological sites, municipal and court buildings, and critical infrastructure, including water and sanitation facilities and electricity networks.

Most notorious has been the relentless assault on every part of the Palestinian medical and healthcare system, from hospitals and clinics to ambulances and the medics themselves.

In just over two months, Israel’s military attacks had wreaked more havoc than the Allied bombing of Germany in World War 2. The destruction is so extreme that Gaza as seen from space has changed colour.

South Africa’s application is detailed, systematic and painstaking in compiling the evidence of genocidal actions underpinned by a definite genocidal intent. It makes for harrowing reading, but the conclusion anyone reading it will draw is that the case against Israel is indeed incontrovertible. We reproduce just a small sample of the facts, figures and quotations it contains below.

1. Israel is engaged in killing Palestinians in Gaza – including Palestinian children – in large numbers.

Over 21,110 Palestinians are reported to have been killed since Israel began its military assault, at least 70 percent of whom are believed to be women and children. Nowhere is safe. Palestinians have been killed in their homes, in places where they sought shelter, in hospitals, in Unwra schools, in churches, in mosques, and as they tried to find food and water for their families.

They have been killed if they failed to evacuate, in the places to which they fled, and even while they attempted to flee along Israeli declared ‘safe routes’. It is estimated that it will take years to recover the remains of people buried underneath the rubble.

An estimated 1,779 Palestinian families in Gaza have lost multiple family members, and hundreds of multigenerational families have been killed in their entirety, with no remaining survivors – mothers, fathers, children, siblings, grandparents, aunts, cousins – often all killed together.

By 7 November 2023, 312 Palestinian families in Gaza had lost over ten members each. The level of mortality in Palestinian families is such that medics in Gaza have had to coin a new acronym: ‘WCNSF’, meaning ‘wounded child, no surviving family’.

Israel is dropping ‘dumb’ (ie, unguided) bombs on Gaza, many of them weighing up to 2,000lb (900kg), which have a predicted lethal radius of up to 360m, and are expected to cause severe injury and damage as far as 800m from the point of impact. These bombs are being dropped close together in one of the most densely populated areas in the world. It is inconceivable that such tactics can be employed with any other intention than that of killing and wounding the largest possible number of people.

Over 115 Palestinian children in Gaza are killed every day. It is estimated that more Palestinian children were killed in the first three weeks alone (a total of 3,195) than the total number of children killed each year across the world’s conflict zones since 2019. The scale of Palestinian child killings in Gaza is such that the UN children’s organisation Unicef has described the strip as “a graveyard for children”.

Doctors, journalists, teachers, academics and other professionals are also being killed at wholly unprecedented rates. To date, Israel has killed over 311 doctors, nurses and other health workers and 103 journalists – more than 73 percent of the total number of journalists and media workers killed globally in 2023. It has also killed 40 civil defence workers – killed while on duty trying to dig victims out of the rubble, at least 209 teachers and educational staff and 144 UN employees – the highest number of aid workers killed in such a short time in UN history.

2. Israel is causing serious bodily and mental harm to Palestinians in Gaza, including Palestinian children; and is inflicting on them conditions of life intended to bring about their destruction as a group.

Over 55,243 Palestinians have been wounded since 7 October 2023, the majority of them women and children. Burns and amputations are typical injuries, with an estimated 1,000 children having lost one or both legs. Israeli forces have used white phosphorus in densely populated areas in Gaza, causing deep burns so severe that they can penetrate bone and even reignite after initial treatment.

The extreme ferocity of bombardment and the lack of safe areas are also causing severe mental trauma. Even before this latest onslaught, Palestinians in Gaza suffered severe trauma from prior attacks: 80 percent of Palestinian children experienced higher levels of emotional distress, demonstrating bedwetting (79 percent) and reactive mutism (59 percent), and engaging in self-harm (59 percent) and suicidal thoughts (55 percent).

An emergency coordinator for Médecins sans Frontières interviewed on her return from five weeks in Gaza described: “It’s even worse in reality than it looks. It’s – the amount of suffering is just something … incomparable.

“It’s really unbearable. I’m speechless when I try and think of the future of these children. It’s generations of children who will be handicapped, who will be traumatised. The very children in our mental health programme are telling us that they would rather die than continue living in Gaza now.”

Clearly this kind of deep-seated and population-wide damage is going to have ramifications for those who survive and for their descendants for generations.

3. Israel is forcing mass expulsions and displacement, alongside the large-scale destruction of homes and residential areas.

It is estimated that over 1.9 million Palestinians out of Gaza’s 2.3 million people, approximately 85 percent of the population, have been forced from their homes. As noted by the UN’s special rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons:

“Gaza’s housing and civilian infrastructure have been razed to the ground, frustrating any realistic prospects for displaced Gazans to return home, repeating a long history of mass forced displacement of Palestinians by Israel.”

The forced displacements in Gaza are genocidal, in that they are taking place in circumstances calculated to bring about the physical destruction of Palestinians in Gaza.

4. Israel is depriving Palestinians in Gaza of access to adequate food and water.

Israel has now pushed the Palestinian population in Gaza to the brink of famine. As the UN secretary-general has stated: “Four out of five of the hungriest people anywhere in the world are in Gaza,” with the people there now facing the highest levels of acute food insecurity ever classified by the international food security monitors (IPC).

Water is also severely depleted. Israel continues to cut off piped water for the north of the strip, and the water desalination plant there is non-functioning. The damage from Israeli airstrikes and shelling has also rendered most of the water system inoperable. The World Food Programme has reported that there are only 1.5 to 1.8 litres of clean water available per person per day for all uses (drinking, washing, food preparation, sanitation and hygiene), which is an order of magnitude below the ‘emergency threshold’ of 15 litres per day considered necessary for surviving in “war or famine-like conditions” and a mere half of the bare minimum ‘survival threshold’ of 3 litres per day.

Experts are now predicting that more Palestinians in Gaza may die from starvation and disease than from airstrikes, and yet Israel is intensifying its bombing campaign, precluding the effective delivery of any humanitarian assistance. It is clear that Israel, through its actions and policies in Gaza, is deliberately inflicting on Palestinians conditions of life calculated to bring about their destruction.

5. Israel is depriving Gazans of access to adequate medical care.

In a letter to the UN security council (UNSC) on 4 December 2023, the international president of Médecins Sans Frontières wrote: “Israel has shown a blatant and total disregard for the protection of Gaza’s medical facilities. These supposedly protected facilities are being bombed, are being shot at by tanks and guns, encircled and raided, killing patients and medical staff.

“Medical staff, including our own, are utterly exhausted and in despair. They have had to amputate limbs from children suffering from severe burns without anaesthesia or sterilised surgical tools. Due to forcible evacuations by Israeli soldiers, some doctors have had to leave patients behind after facing the unimaginable choice between their lives or those of their patients.

“There is no justification for the atrocious attacks on healthcare. The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes the situation as ‘unconscionable’ and ‘beyond belief’.” (Our emphasis)

6. Israel is depriving Palestinians of access to adequate shelter, clothes, hygiene and sanitation.

Shelters are shockingly overcrowded, creating a high risk of epidemic illness. In these overfull and unsanitary spaces, more than 700 people use a single toilet, women give birth (an average of 25 per day), and people nurse open wounds.

Sewage is flowing into the streets where Palestinians are living, as it can no longer be managed. Every possible corner is congested with makeshift shelters. In all parts of Gaza, people are desperate, hungry and terrified.

These conditions – deliberately inflicted by Israel – are calculated to bring about the destruction of the Palestinian group in Gaza.

7. Israel is imposing measures intended to prevent Palestinian births.

On 3 November 2023, the WHO warned that maternal deaths are expected to increase, including a rise in stress-induced miscarriages, stillbirths and premature births. By 22 November 2023, the UN special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences, has expressly warned:

“Israel’s continued assault on the reproductive rights of Palestinian women and their newborns has been relentless and is particularly alarming …

“The reproductive violence inflicted by Israel on Palestinian women, newborn babies, infants and children could be qualified as … acts of genocide under Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide … including ‘imposing measures intended to prevent births within a group’.”

8. Israel intends the destruction of Palestinian life in Gaza.

Israel has destroyed individual homes, entire streets and whole neighbourhoods. Shops, schools, vibrant marketplaces, doctors’ clinics, historic streets, mosques; everything that once sustained Palestinian life has been damaged or destroyed.

The bombers have targeted Gaza city’s central archive building, containing thousands of historical documents and national records dating back over a century. It has besieged every one of Gaza’s four universities and killed leading Palestinian academics.

The Israeli army, erecting the Israeli flag over the wreckage of devastated Palestinian homes, towns and cities, including in Gaza city’s Palestine Square itself, and spurred on by calls from within the Israeli government and without to “flatten Gaza” and establish Israeli settlements on the rubble of Palestinian homes, is destroying the very fabric and basis of Palestinian life in Gaza.

Israel is thereby deliberately inflicting on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life calculated to bring about its destruction.

The rhetoric of genocidal intent

Overt statements by prominent members of Israeli society including state officials, parliamentarians and news anchors constitute clear direct and public incitement to genocide with such sentiments seemingly widespread and mainstream in Israeli society. In its application, South Africa provides nearly 5,000 directly attributable words, of which we present but a small subset in illustration.

Prime minister of Israel: On 16 October 2023, Benjamin Netanyahu, in a formal address to the Israeli Knesset, described the situation as “a struggle between the children of light and the children of darkness, between humanity and the law of the jungle”. On 28 October, he went one further, telling a press conference that Israelis were “committed to completely eliminating this evil from the world” and adding: “You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible. And we do remember.”

The verse he referenced describes a call by God to the Biblical Israelites to wipe out every man, woman and child of a rival tribe; a verse that has for many decades been used by zionists ultras to justify killing any and all Palestinians. Footage of IDF members dancing on the rubble in Gaza while singing a song to “wipe out the seeds of Amalek … We know our slogan; there are no uninvolved civilians” shows that the genocidal content of the prime minister’s message has been clearly understood by the soldiery on the ground.

President of Israel: On 12 October 2023, President Isaac Herzog made clear that Israel was not distinguishing between militants and civilians in Gaza, stating in a press conference to foreign media – in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, over one million of whom are children: “It’s an entire nation out there that is responsible. It’s not true this rhetoric about civilians not aware not involved. It’s absolutely not true … and we will fight until we break their backbone.”

Israeli minister of defence: On 9 October 2023, Yoav Gallant issued a ‘situation update’ in which he stated that Israel was “imposing a complete siege on Gaza. No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. Everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly.” He informed troops on the Gaza border that Israel was moving to “a full-scale response” and that he had “removed every restriction” on the behaviour of the armed forces.

Israeli minister for national security: On 10 November 2023, openly fascist minister Itamar Ben-Gvir clarified the government’s position in a televised address, stating: “To be clear, when we say that Hamas should be destroyed, it also means those who celebrate, those who support, and those who hand out candy – they’re all terrorists, and they should also be destroyed.”

Israeli minister of energy and infrastructure: On 13 October 2023, Israel Katz wrote in a tweet: “All the civilian population in Gaza is ordered to leave immediately. We will win. They will not receive a drop of water or a single battery until they leave the world.

Israeli minister of heritage: On 1 November 2023, Amichai Eliyahu posted on Facebook: “The north of the Gaza Strip, more beautiful than ever. Everything is blown up and flattened, simply a pleasure for the eyes … We must talk about the day after. In my mind, we will hand over lots to all those who fought for Gaza over the years and to those evicted from [former Israeli settlement] Gush Katif.”

Israeli minister of agriculture: On 11 November 2023, Avi Dichter recalled the Nakba of 1948, in which over 80 percent of the Palestinian population of the new Israeli state was forced from or fled their homes, stating to a TV interviewer that: “We are now actually rolling out the Gaza Nakba.”

Similar statements have been made by a host of army officers, advisers and spokespeople engaging with the troops being deployed by Israel to Gaza:

Reservist major-general, former head of the Israeli national security council and adviser to the defence minister: On 7 October 2023, Giora Eiland, disussing the order to cut off water and electricity to Gaza, wrote in an online journal: “This is what Israel has begun to do – we cut the supply of energy, water and diesel to the Strip … But it’s not enough. In order to make the siege effective, we have to prevent others from giving assistance to Gaza … The people should be told that they have two choices: to stay and to starve, or to leave.”

Veteran reservist ‘motivational speech’: On 11 October 2023, 95-year-old Israeli army reservist Ezra Yachin – a veteran of the notorious Deir Yassin massacre that took place during the 1948 Nakba – was reportedly called up for reserve duty to “boost morale” amongst Israeli troops ahead of the ground invasion. He was broadcast on social media being driven around in an Israeli army vehicle, dressed in Israeli army fatigues, and inciting the soldiers to genocide:

“Be triumphant and finish them off and don’t leave anyone behind. Erase the memory of them. Erase them, their families, mothers and children. These animals can no longer live …

“Every jew with a weapon should go out and kill them. If you have an Arab neighbour, don’t wait, go to his home and shoot him … We want to invade, not like before, we want to enter and destroy what’s in front of us, and destroy houses, then destroy the one after it.

“With all of our forces, complete destruction, enter and destroy. As you can see, we will witness things we’ve never dreamed of. Let them drop bombs on them and erase them.”

International recognition of Israel’s genocidal intent

In addition to the many states that have rightly recognised Israel’s statements in relation to Gaza as demonstrating genocidal intent, a significant number of UN experts have repeatedly warned that the Palestinian people are at grave risk of genocide by Israel. For example:

On 19 October 2023, nine UN special rapporteurs sounded the alarm, warning: “There is an ongoing campaign by Israel resulting in crimes against humanity in Gaza. Considering statements made by Israeli political leaders and their allies, accompanied by military action in Gaza and escalation of arrests and killing in the West Bank, there is also a risk of genocide against the Palestine people.”

On 28 October 2023, the director of the New York office of the high commissioner for human rights (‘OHCHR’) stepped down, after penning a widely reported resignation statement describing the situation in Gaza as “a textbook case of genocide”.

On 2 November 2023, eight special rapporteurs warned that they “remain convinced that the Palestinian people are at grave risk of genocide”.

On 16 November 2023, 15 special rapporteurs and 21 members of UN working groups cautioned that “grave violations committed by Israel against Palestinians in the aftermath of 7 October, particularly in Gaza, point to a genocide in the making”.

On 20 November 2023, the special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences, issued a statement warning: “Since 7 October, the assault on Palestinian women’s dignity and rights has taken on new and terrifying dimensions, as thousands have become victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and an unfolding genocide.”

On 8 December 2023, ahead of a UNSC ceasefire resolution vote that was vetoed by the USA, 22 special rapporteurs and 28 members of working groups reiterated their previous statement “warning against the commission of genocide”.

Significance of this action

The ICJ is part of the United Nations, which as we know is dominated by western powers. That is why the ICJ, located in the heart of imperial Europe and dominated by US imperialism, has never before addressed itself to a single one of the terrible crimes committed by the imperial west. The court may have no real power to enforce any decision, but the very fact that it is being used in this way signals a sea change in the balance of power globally and in the sentiments of the watching masses.

Whilst South Africa has initiated this action, it is being supported by more than 150 nations, all of whom have condemned Israel’s actions as genocidal and have demanded an immediate halt to Israel’s bombing. The sentiments of the Arab masses (and the decline of US power in the middle east) may be gauged from the fact that Saudi Arabia is one of the supporters of the case. Even in the security council, the most recent motion demanding an immediate ceasefire was only stopped by the USA’s veto (while the perfidious British delegation abstained from voting at all).

South Africa’s case is detailed and compelling. It has demonstrated with depth and clarity the clear intentionality of destroying Gaza, making it unhabitable, killing as many of its people as possible and forcing the rest to leave. Its actions and words in support of this aim, its bombing of core infrastructure and its coldblooded blocking of access to everything needed to sustain life are irrefutable.

From Israel’s highest political and military officials, across its media and throughout its wider society, the repeated and escalating rhetoric makes clear that Gaza is to be devastated; that no distinction is to be drawn between resistance fighters and civilians, and that therefore everybody is a target.

Genocidal in intent, genocidal in action.

What makes this case historic is the ongoing and thorough documentation of heinous crimes against humanity as they are being committed, and their presentation in a public court of law. The facts, presented logically, eloquently and without interruption, speak for themselves. Since they can neither interrupt nor refute the evidence being given, all the imperialists can do is refuse to broadcast coverage of South Africa’s case in western mainstream media.

But even this is backfiring. The decision of many outlets to ignore South Africa’s presentation and broadcast only the footage of Israel’s empty ‘refutation’ has only further deepened the growing and deep cynicism of so many workers towards imperialist corporate media.

For those who are following the case, not only is the evidence so methodically presented entirely convincing, but it also resonates with what many of us have been witnessing for three months on our social media feeds. This is the first time in history a genocide has been documented in real time by its victims in the bright glare of global publicity, and South Africa has reminded us that we, the peoples of the world, have a responsibility not to sit silently by.

Each of us must choose: we can either align ourselves with the victims of genocide or we can stand up against those who perpetrate and facilitate it. This is especially important for those of us living in imperialist countries whose governments are providing military and logistical support without which the blitzkrieg in Gaza could not continue for even one more day.

This is a pivotal moment in international relations, especially for those who hope to be able to reform the UN and bring its actions in line with the high-flown phrases of its official mission statement. As with so many other UN bodies, the ICJ has been a weapon not of international justice, but of the strong against the weak, the oppressors against the oppressed.

For the first time in its history, that most protected of all colonial projects, Israel, and its western backers are on trial. And not only they, but also the entire UN system and the ICJ itself. And the whole world will know what to think if the judges are unable to free themselves from US pressure and influence to come to an honest verdict. Or if the verdict comes but nothing is done to implement it.

If these august institutions are unable to deliver even a single step towards the real justice for Palestine that is so urgently demanded, it will be clear to the peoples of the world that they have no other option but to take matters into their own hands.

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The Grayzone video What is wrong with Israelis? puts together a large selection of clips showing prominent Israeli political, religious, media and cultural figures galvanising the troops for a campaign of extermination. Disturbing and age-restricted but essential viewing.