In the Gaza case brought by South Africa before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague (Netherlands), the court has ruled that Israel must do all in its power to prevent genocide against the Palestinian people.
On the emergency measures requested by South Africa, the ICJ has ordered Israel to take steps to prevent acts of genocide. Phrased that way, acts that could lead to genocide are enjoined and the ruling thus puts Israel under the gun tying Netanyahu’s hands. He of course has called the ruling “outrageous”.
The ruling should also be a wake-up call for the somnambulistic US president who has sleep-walked through the whole affair holding Israel’s tail. He says the ruling is consistent with his administration’s approach to the war (only latterly however) and will not change US policy.
Meanwhile, the Palestinians have charged genocide in a US court and sued Biden and Blinken, the US Secretary of State, and Lloyd Austin the Defense Secretary. They are all accused of “failure to prevent and complicity in the Israeli government’s unfolding genocide.”
The ICJ will continue to study Israeli actions and will rule on the genocide question at a later date. The ICJ judges voted 15 to 2 for the ruling with only the Israeli judge and one other abstaining. It means in reality a sort of probationary status for Israel while the court observes, studies actions, and renders its final decision.
Former top Israeli security officials have now entered the fray. Unwilling to wait for the international court’s verdict on the genocide question, they are demanding Netanyahu’s removal from office. They have sent a letter to Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog, and to Amir Ohana the speaker of Parliament saying Benjamin Netanyahu has allowed an “existential” threat to the country. This they contend is due to the effect on the country of his controversial focus on changing procedures as to how judges are appointed, and on curbing their power to review parliamentary decisions.
The signatories have a point because the so-called judicial reform proposals have caused massive, regular demonstrations that eventually led to security lapses, which could only have aided the Hamas attack.
Returning to the ICJ and the genocide issue, should the court rule against Israel, it would be a terrible irony, given the suffering of Jews under a Nazi occupied Europe and the horrors of the concentration camps. Names like Auschwitz now evoke the worst of horror and brutality.
Quite naturally if Israeli elections were held today, Netanyahu would no longer be in the driver’s seat. A very smart man, he knows it too and will likely wait as long as possible — the public can often have a short memory.