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Palestinians apply to join South Africa’s genocide case against Israel

Israeli tanks in a military staging area near the Israel-Gaza border Associated Press/Photo by Leo Correa

Palestinians apply to join South Africa’s genocide case against Israel

A group of Palestinians calling themselves the State of Palestine on Monday applied to join South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice. The move comes days after some European countries recognized a Palestinian state, while countries like the United States, Israel, and Denmark refuse to do so. In their application, the Palestinians argued that they had a vested interest in the outcome of South Africa’s case against Israel, calling the humanitarian situation in Gaza disastrous. Libya, Nicaragua, and Columbia have also filed motions to join the case.

What is South Africa alleging? Late last year, South Africa filed a case against Israel in the UN’s high court, alleging that Israel was engaging in genocide in Gaza by systematically eliminating the Palestinian people. The ICJ in January ruled that Israel needed to take steps to limit civilian casualties and allow humanitarian aid into the region. However, that ruling did not end the legal proceedings between the two countries. In late March, the court ordered that Israel allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza. Last month, the ICJ ruled that Israel needed to stop all military operations around the city of Rafah in southern Gaza.

What exactly did the Palestinians say in their application? They said at least 36,000 people in Gaza had died, echoing numbers provided by the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. Additionally, more than 80,000 others had suffered injuries, they said, calling those numbers conservative estimates. Many still alive in Gaza were facing acute food insecurity, as well, they added. They also said Israel’s assault on Gaza had obliterated the infrastructure of the region beyond recognition. “Today, genocide is a reality,” they said.

What does Israel have to say? Israel argued before the court last month that it did not seek to go to war in Gaza but that the war began when the terrorist organization Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. That attack killed roughly 1,200 people, and Hamas militants captured more than 250 hostages from Israel that day. Representatives for Israel said that their country had a right to defend itself against such attacks. Israel said it has been seeking to eliminate Hamas and rescue its hostages and that military operations do not equate to genocide. Israeli representatives also claimed that Hamas has repeatedly rejected offers for a cease-fire.

Dig deeper: Read Carolina Lumetta’s report in The Stew on the paradoxical nature of college campus protests supporting Gaza in the United States.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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