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2 Feb, 2024 10:04

Israel ignoring UN court order – South Africa

Pretoria’s foreign minister says hundreds of civilians have been killed in the besieged Gaza since last week’s ruling
Israel ignoring UN court order – South Africa

South Africa has accused Israel of disregarding a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordering it to prevent civilian deaths in its war in Gaza against the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor told reporters in Pretoria on Wednesday that the Israeli government has killed hundreds more people in Gaza, just days after the UN’s top court ruling last week.

The ICJ ruled on January 26 that Israel must take all necessary precautions to prevent genocide and destruction in the Palestinian territories. While the court stopped short of demanding a ceasefire, it did order West Jerusalem to punish members of its military who commit genocide, as well as government officials who advocate for massacre.

In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the World Court’s decision as “outrageous” and declared that no Israeli soldiers would be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, Israeli forces continued to battle militants in the northern part of the enclave on Wednesday. The attacks killed over 150 people and injured 313 more. Nearly 27,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Gaza since the war began in October, Palestinian health officials have said.

The conflict started when Hamas fighters launched attacks against Israeli villages, killing more than 1,100 people and taking hundreds of hostages. The UN says around 85% of Gaza residents have been displaced from their homes, and 570,000 people there are starving.

“I can’t be dishonest. I believe the rulings of the court have been ignored. Hundreds of people have been killed in the last three or four days. And clearly, Israel believes it has license to do as it wishes,” South Africa’s Foreign Minister said.

Pandor warned of the dangers of the world doing nothing to stop the civilian casualties in Gaza. She said that similar inaction contributed to Rwanda’s horrific death toll in 1994 when more than 800,000 people were slaughtered in an ethnically motivated genocide.

South Africa filed a separate case against Netanyahu at the ICC last November, accusing him of war crimes and demanding his arrest.

On Wednesday, Pandor stated that she had met with the ICC prosecutor to discuss the case and that it appeared to be handled differently than the allegations against Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine crisis. Last year, The Hague court issued an arrest warrant for Putin for alleged war crimes, including the removal of children from Ukraine.

“I asked him [ICC prosecutor] why he was able to issue an arrest warrant for Mr. Putin and is unable to do so for the prime minister of Israel. He did not answer that question. But I read into some of what he said that the investigations are still underway,” the South African official said.

She said Pretoria would “look at proposing other measures to the global community” to stop Israel from killing civilians amid its war in Gaza.

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