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Top SA legal team argues genocidal intent by Israel showing how life is being squeezed from Gaza

Top SA legal team argues genocidal intent by Israel showing how life is being squeezed from Gaza
The South African delegation to the International Court of Justice at The Hague in The Netherlands on 11 January 2024. (Photo: Michel Porro / Getty Images)

For South Africa, Advocate Adila Hassim sets out four kinds of plausibly genocidal action in hearings at The Hague.

In a packed Peace Palace watched by the world, South Africa took Israel to the World Court, arguing that it is committing genocide in Gaza. 

With a top global legal team of nine and a delegation led by Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, South Africa has argued that Israel has genocidal intent in Palestine and asked the Court to order six specific actions to end the carnage. These include ending military action, stopping the killing, opening up humanitarian corridors to prevent a coming famine and allowing the free and safe birth of Palestinian babies. 

For South Africa – Advocate Adila Hassim, Ronald Lamola, Minister of Justice and Vusimuzi Madonsela (right), South African Ambassador to the Netherlands, at the International Court of Justice. (Photo: EPA-EFE/Remko De Waal)

Each team member argued to their strengths with the internationally renowned Professor John Dugard crafting the core of the strategy. 

Advocate Adila Hassim opened for South Africa, bringing her years of social justice practice to an impassioned address. She told the International Court of Justice (ICJ) headed by President Judge Joan Donoghue that the proceedings under the Genocide Convention “expressed the essence of our shared humanity”.  

“Genocides are never declared in advance but this court has the past 13 weeks of evidence that shows a pattern,” she said, adding that news feeds had become scrolls of graphic images “unbearable to watch”. She said that Israel had warned it would continue for a year and said that without an order from the Court, the horror would not cease.  

She said that in 96 days since the Israeli state attacked Gaza following the bloody incursion by Hamas on October 7, life had become impossible. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Middle East crisis news hub

She argued that entry and exit by air and sea were prohibited, blocking food, fuel and the essentials to live, displaying a map of the Gaza Strip to show how it was locked in. 

“This conduct renders essentials to life unobtainable,” she argued. 

Israel’s actions, she argued, amounted to a “pattern of genocidal conduct. At least some (of this conduct), if not all, falls within the Genocide Convention’s provisions”. 

Israel genocide

Joan Donoghue (second-right), President of the International Court of Justice and other judges at the International Court of Justice, prior to the hearing of the genocide case against Israel brought by South Africa, in The Hague, on The Netherlands, 11 January 2024. (Photo: EPA-EFE/Remko De Waal)

Four genocidal acts

Hassim grouped the conduct into four categories of acts that could be regarded as genocidal. 

The first genocidal act is the mass killing of civilians in Gaza. 

“The level of killing is so extensive that nowhere is safe in Gaza,” she said. By 11 January, 23,210 Palestinians had been killed in three months, at least 70% of whom are believed to be women and children 

“Seven thousand Palestinians are missing, presumed dead under the rubble,” she said, adding that mosques, schools, churches and other community buildings had been destroyed. She told the court Israel deployed “the biggest and most destructive bombs available” and said there were records it had deployed 6,000 bombs per week in the first three weeks.

“Israel has killed an unparalleled and unprecedented number of civilians in full knowledge of how many civilians each bomb would take,” said Hassim. 

“Multi-generational families have been wiped out, often all killed together. This killing is nothing short of destruction of Palestinian life. The scale of Palestinian child killings is such that UN chiefs describe it as a graveyard for children,” she said.

The second genocidal act she laid out details of was the severe bodily and mental harm Palestinians faced. The third is actions that make life impossible to sustain. Hassim said that 85% of Gazans had been repeatedly displaced. 

Ronald Lamola, Israel, genocide

South Africa’s legal team with Justice Minister Ronald Lamola (right) at the International Court of Justice on day one of the genocide case against Israel in The Hague, The Netherlands, on 11 January 2024. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Remko de Waal)

“Those who cannot leave have been killed or are risk of being killed.” There is widespread hunger and dehydration, and Israel has pushed Palestinian people to the brink of famine, said Hassim, setting out the third measure of plausible and rising genocide.

“Of all the people in the world currently suffering catastrophic hunger, more than 80% are in Gaza,” said Hassim, adding that more people could die from hunger than from airstrikes.  

South Africa showed the Court an image of thousands of people desperately chasing a single food truck as it arrived. Hassim spoke of soaring disease rates as water supplies broke down. The fourth, she said, was a military assault on Gaza’s health system, which had brought it to its knees, and she laid out how pregnant women suffered the lack of birth care they needed. 

“All of these acts form a calculated pattern of conduct indicating a genocidal intent. They are specially targeting Palestinians, using weaponry that causes homicidal destruction. (Israel) designates safe zones telling people to seek safe refuge and then bombs these.”

‘Injunction to kill Palestinians’

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi told the Court that Israel’s leaders had declared their genocidal intent.  

He referred expressly to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement in different speeches instructing, “‘You must remember what Amalek has done to you says our Holy Bible, And we do remember.’” Ngcukaitobi said this biblical junction to “destroy the seed of Amalek” was read as an injunction to kill Palestinians as a group.

 He showed video clips of soldiers chanting about the seed of Amalek “Soldiers repeat these (statements by leaders) on the ground” he told the Court, showing the pattern repeatedly of how political leaders’ violent words led to violent actions. “The language of systematic dehumanisation is evident here,” said Ngcukaitobi. He said that later attempts by Netanyahu to neutralise his words have not affected how soldiers understand state policy on the ground and in his government. Israel’s attorney-general announced on 10 January that he would investigate hate speech by political leaders.

Ngcukaitobi also showed images of Shujaiya, a wholly destroyed village, systematically bombed over two weeks and argued that what was being witnessed was a “calculated destruction of Palestinian life in all its manifestation”. “Genocide in the time of peace or war is a crime in international law,” he said.  

What happens next

Israel will present its defence against the allegations of a rising genocide on Friday, 12 January. An interim decision is expected by the court in 10 to 14 days while the substance of the case could take years to argue. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Coen Gous says:

    Ms Haffajee, I am so proud to read any of your articles, regardless of the subject matter. Except to say you are one of the bravest journalists in our country

  • Charmaine Manicom says:

    Hamas and the Israeli government have a lot in common. Neither gives a damn about the Palestinians.

  • sl0m0 za says:

    How about the Genocidal acts of the ANC and EFF in South Africa against white farmers and the apartheid policies of the ANC government. Talk about the pot calling the kettle……

    • Jan Vos says:

      Just don’t say “black.” That would make you a racist…

    • iMG Ing says:

      Which apartheid policies?

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      I am so Disappointed by the DA I was looking towards them to save us from the mess inside the country but they failed to identify a purely human disaster in Palestine because of an identity crisis, had they stepped up like they did in Ukraine they will now be the darling of the masses and Palestine families locally and abroad thus boosting the chances of snatching victory and sorting the corruption mess, unfortunately the Da will always be the DA

      • John Doe says:

        Atleast they don’t support terrorists

      • Johan Formaas says:

        Isreal is not 100% clean in this
        Personally I believe the DA might be doing the right thing staying out of it
        If they stood up and defended Isreal then the ANC would have every paper filled with retorick that the DA is just racist regime
        If DA fought the ANC in this case they would probably imediatly have won the battle
        But it would have cost them the war and would have been exactly what the ANC wants

      • Lesiba Langa says:

        Kenneth, I fully agree with you. The DA has lost it big. They danced to the drums of their masters, the funders and failed to stand for the atrocities on the Palestinian people. They literally turned a blind eye. They will not get votes from the majority of South African voters.

    • John P says:

      Whilst the attacks and killings of white farmers are disgusting and often racist they do not meet the requirement to be called genocidal. Also the ANC policies regarding BEE etc. are certainly racist but cannot be referred to as Apartheid policies.

    • Johann Olivier says:

      How to respond to this, Mr Za. Farm murders are horrendous, individual crimes, but are not in the same galaxy as the overwhelming crime perpetrated by a state. Even by the standards of ‘whataboutism’, your post is ridiculous. It’s like comparing the harm from a knife to that of a siege gun.

    • Rama Chandra says:

      Except that there is zero evidence there is an attack specifically on white farmers. The murder rate in parts of the countryside is absolutely shocking. That does not fall disproportionately on white farmers. Or if you think it does, then produce some evidence. What data are you looking at?

      That said, the rhetoric of the EFF and sometimes ANC is clearly anti-white, in some quarters, and is condemnable. It is disappointing that racial stratification of society remains widespread after liberation, and particularly that the education system is so segregated and that the economy is strangled by the bureaucracy, ensuring both a racial and a violent society well into the 2030s.

  • Steve Marks says:

    Tomorrow is a big day for Israel. The Jews will respond succinctly. The allegation of genocide is spurious at best. All Civilized democratic countries should experience the precisely same attack on its citizens as the Israeli Jews experienced on Oct7. I would like to see how any other civilized democratic sovereign country would respond to the barbaric 7th century Islamist onslaught suffered by Jewish Israelis on Oct7. Either way, Israel will carry on its fight against the genocidal Islamist terror block that it has faced since 1948. Am Yisrael Chai lenetzach netzachim.

    • Fayzal Mahamed says:

      Shame on you Marks for saying that despite the possibility that Israel will be guilty of genocide it will continue to destroy Palestinians. Where is your humanity?
      Today, I am a proud South African. Proud that we stood up to fight for the rights of Palestinians not to be killed through the genocidal acts of Israel.

      • Coen Gous says:

        Unfortunately that word humanity is absent amongst many, in particular those in support of a certain political party in the south-west province of this country, and of a certain race group

      • Moss Phali says:

        I also ask my self, where is humanity on the part of Hamas. Is fair to set up a military base under a school, a hospital and in communities and launch attacks within community structures? Instead of the military protecting citizens, the citizens are protecting the militants.. Shame on Hamas

        • Leon Hugo says:

          Well said. If you start a massacre you should not wail if retaliation follows.

          • Rama Chandra says:

            Yes, indeed Hamas is an awful brutal organisation. 75 years of murder and discrimination has brutalised them to a horrific degree. It doesn’t mean that Israel is in any way justified in murdering any and all Palestinians, and honestly anyone who thinks so is deeply deeply racist and evil.

      • Geoff Coles says:

        It’s only Hamas and the like, supporters, who support terrorism.

        • Rama Chandra says:

          The stated goal of the government of Israel is to terrorise the Palestinians so much that they don’t even think of tolerating anti-Jewish sentiment… of terrorising them so much they would rather lie with their faces in the dust and tolerate violence racism and colonialism. In short Israel has a policy of terror.

    • John P says:

      One would hope that they would not respond to a terrorist attack as Israel has, a huge indiscriminate attack on the citizens of Gaza. Even the US attacks on Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan should take second place to the current malicious revenge we are seeing in Gaza.

      • dexter m says:

        Actually the only comparison i could find was the ” Forgotten War ” Korean War . The UN force led by US bombed the country back to the stone age . They destroyed every town , village , bridge, farm , any structure was totally destroyed . One of the Quotes i found from a US bomber pilot was that finally they could not find any structures with 2 brick levels to bomb and had to release their bombs into the sea before returning to base as they could not land with a full bomb bay. General Curtis le May the Air Commander asked for permission to use nuclear bomb , because according to him the Koreans refused to surrender and there nothing more to bomb ,maybe the nuclear option would work.

      • Ben Harper says:

        Then you live in Lala Land

    • Kanu Sukha says:

      To paraphrase Biden spokesman Kirby … its “baseless” ? … like the alleged weapons of ‘mass destruction’ to cover up for an invasion of another country several years ago ? And … remember these were the same two countries that labeled the ANC a ‘terrorist’ organisation ! Until they sat down to negotiate with the greatest ‘terrorist’ in the world, Madiba years later ! Presently corrupt to the core … but ‘terrorist’ !? Oh for the record … the genocidal zionist intent was articulated many years even before the state of Israel was declared in ’48, by its founding father Ben-Gurion in a letter to his son thus … “The Arabs will have to go, BUT one needs an opportune moment for making it happen, such as war. ” Enough said … welcome to Netanyahu’s genocidal coalition !

    • Bill Gild says:

      Hamas is a designated terrorist entity. Period. Terrorists need to be eliminated. Period.

      • John P says:

        I believe the case is about Palestinian genocide rather than about Hamas. Those are not the same thing.

      • Beezy Bailey says:

        During the years when Mandela was still a “ Terrorist “ before being transformed into a demigod by the world at time of our democracy, I used to ask with reference to the torture in detention of activists by the apartheid government, Who are the terrorists? As the apartheid government were terrorists of the lives of millions.
        I ask this question again. What makes the barbaric acts of Hamas an act of Terror [ which I agree they were] yet not the massacres of children and detention of over 6000 mainly civilian and blanket bombing of Gaza not an act of terror? Are there two sets of rules here ? Both the IDF and Hamas are terrorists. It is plainly obvious to see .

    • Impie Mann says:

      Excluding Cambodia and Rwanda, not since B J Vorster and his disgusting, fascist apartheid regime, has the world been witness to such a vile, hateful, racist and murderous government than Netanyahu’s zionist-nazi government of 2023/4. This is clearly genocide.

      • Robin Rain says:

        Impie, before you respond to an article, you should ensure you are factually correct. There is a current genocide taking place right now. Hamas aren’t the only Islamist savages butchering, raping and mutilating innocent men, women and children. Sudanese President Omar Bashir was convicted of crimes against humanity and for having facilitated and ordered the genocide in Darfur. About 300,000 people died in combat as well as from famine and disease. You haven’t heard about this because nobody cares. South Africa failed to execute the arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir when he visited in June 2015. They let him fly out of the country. Why are African lives cheaper than Palestinian lives? There were no marches in the street and screeching from the Islamic community. Not a peep. Why do you think this was the case? When Israel defends its citizens after being attacked by butchers, there’s no end to the chorus of “human rights activists” and do-gooders.

  • Jan Vos says:

    The first casualty of war is always The Truth. Clearly this is also the case here. South Africa defending Hamas terrorists. Again? Oh, well, we are quite used to it.

    • Rama Chandra says:

      There is the first lie. They aren’t defending Hamas at all. You know that though don’t you? Why do you benefit from these lies that have no traction at all?

  • Cheryl Siewierski says:

    Sometimes, just sometimes, this country shows what it is capable of. A team of experts and a plan can take us far, and I wish we’d use this as a model for everything we do. Let’s hope this effort has some effect in slowing down the ravages in Palestine. As for a long-term solution that offers justice and a peaceful co-existence, sadly, I think we’re going to need a miracle, and not a rockstar legal team.

  • dexter m says:

    I hope the response of Israel that is sponsored by Israeli gov on the web , is not their total presentation . I will be disappointed if this is the track they following, expected better .

  • Neil Parker says:

    We need to commend this effort but at the same time point out that it would carry a lot more weight if South Africa did not prevaricate so grossly over obvious human rights violations (ongoing) in Ukraine. The rockets are still falling daily on civilian targets in that country and what have we to say ? Nothing, nothing and nothing again. The silence is deafening – is that because Zelensky is a Jew who somehow needs to be punished for Israel’s sins ?? Or that rocket attacks on civilians are somehow permissible ?? I am not sure who is worse – Putin or Netanyahu – same mindset driven by religious zealotry but at least for the latter the rocket attacks were incoming.

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      Neil you don’t have to be smart that you cannot step on any conflict supported by Britain and America because their support is colour or financially motivated, South Africa entered the Ukraine conflict and through the words of Ramaphosa stated that territorial integrity and human rights law must be respected they told Putin in the face, then they promoted a resolution through dialogue. Do your research it’s there

      • Coen Gous says:

        One can try to counter argument, but in this country, or any country, people will insult, argue, defend, whatever they believe in. That is unfortunately the way of the human being.

        • John P says:

          100% correct, and this is why war will never go away

          • Rama Chandra says:

            Incorrect. Wars end when both parties have an interest in it not continuing. Israel’s interest is the elimination of the population of Gaza before the Palestinians have to be given voting rights or Israel formally has to declare itself an apartheid state. Israel can be Jewish or democratic. It cannot be both with Palestinians becoming a larger segment of the population.

      • Sydney Kaye says:

        Although it has no relevence to the matter on hand let’s set the record straight about Ramaphosa /Putin.
        1. The ANC went a step too far in having naval exercises with the Russians while it was busy with its illegal (in anybody ‘s world) invasion of Ukraine and compounded that with the suspicious comings and goings on the Lady R.
        2. The ANC then came up with the transparently absurd African Peace mission to Ukraine and Russia in the hope that it would give them neutral credentials.
        3. In typical ANC fashion the stunt was a farce which notwithstanding Ramaphosa’s unconvincing report that negotiating were in progress and peace was at hand, obviously nothing happened. Except another big bill for the tax payer just to assist the ANC with its standard distraction tactics.

    • Vincent L says:

      Agree with regards to Ukraine. The SA government is apparently appalled by the genocide in the Middle East but sat on the fence with the Russo Ukraine war. With regards to Palestine they’ve got nothing to loose. But with Russia, a hell of a lot to loose including Luthuli House!

      • Bill Gild says:


      • Ben Harper says:

        No just Ukraine, they openly supported the genocidal maniac from Sudan, the openly support Hamas, even supporting the Hamas official office in Johannesburg (Fordsburg to be precise). The anc have a track record of supporting brutal dictators and murderers, they also have a track record of doing absolutely nothing against their brethren in Africa murdering millions of people

  • bees.groeni says:

    South Africa has genocide in its own country yet feels it has to interfere elsewhere. Focus on the spike in your own eye before trying to remove from another’s eye.
    Why also not take on Russia vs Ukraine. Because South Africa sides with Russia.

    • John P says:

      No, South Africa does not have genocide in it’s own country. Whilst crime, particularly murder, is rampant it does not constitute genocide.

      • Richard Blake says:

        True, but you can kill the people of a country in many other ways. The ANC has been killing the people of South Africa since they came to power. The mattress king jetting around the world in a private jet, and dining like a king costing millions while children starve to death in the Eastern Cape.

  • Really Honestly says:

    The hypocracy of it all, and so many useful clowns along on the road trip.

    • ZA Patriot says:

      *hypocrisy. Where’s the hypocrisy? Apartheid Israel has implemented Apartheid policies, ethnic cleansing and is committing genocide.

      • Ben Harper says:

        Nonsense, they don’t have one singe apartheid policy. Just because the innernetz says it so doesn’t mean it it

        • Johann Olivier says:

          I lived in Israel in 1976. I’ll never forget the words of an Israeli sergeant: The only way forward for us, the Jews of Israel, is to institute a form of Apartheid. The alternative is being voted out of existence. This was simply one person’s opinion then, but it has stuck with me.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    Thanks for the photo A least we know who is flying first class, staying in 5 star hotels, eating in the most expensive restautrants and doing a bit of shopping ( at tax payers’s cost) to further the ANC stunt to deflect from its misserable foreign affairs record , particularly with respect to mandatory Putin and al Bashir arrest warrants from the ICC
    In spite of the top team doing its best it has a spurious case . The SA legal team must know there are precendents at the IJC regarding intent which cannot be matched with the facts, which is why so much time was spent on pictures and reports relating to the outcome not the intent. Unlike the media the court will not be swayed by optics or anecdotes.
    The best that SA can hope for from the ICJ is some sort of order amounting to keep to the Genocide Convention and/or one relating to the flow of humaitarian aid (both of which Israel will say they are doing anyway), The main requests to cease fire and stop the war ( a nice gift to the real genocidal terrorists) is over-ambitious and will fail.

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      That’s your wishful thinking Sydney,all those cases you count have their own merits and approach, I invite you to thoroughly read the 9 statements by the Israel leadership and ask yourself are these people who deserve our defense? Look at the pictures of Gaza, was Hamas in all those bombed houses if so why more than 9000 children have been killed were they being babysitted by Hamas? Can a 5year old child be a terrorist?

    • Bill Gild says:

      One can only imagine how much this junket is going to cost SA taxpayers.

    • Geoff Coles says:

      The politicians among them are doing it for politics, the lawyers for money!

  • Graham Howard says:

    What a wonderfully powerful group of legal experts our great country put together to fight for the Palestinians of Gaza. Interesting when I read the opening address by the esteemed Adila Hassim, a Muslim, her words made me think of South Africa, not Gaza. What a pity this expensive group of activists aren’t fighting the good fight right here in South Africa, where our own ANC cadre are causing human catastrophes every day everywhere. Two other thoughts went through my mind: Who is paying these people and how much is it. Secondly, why aren’t they also bringing Hamas before the international court as well for their atrocities, and why aren’t they demanding the release of the hostages. Finally, why aren’t they fighting the good fight for the Ukrainians too. It seems then that this group is representing the Muslim world against the West, and nothing else really matters to them?

  • Anthony Hall says:

    Almost 12,000 Children have been Deliberately Killed by Israel`s IDF. Adolf Hitler`s “Anti-Semitic” SS would be proud.
    12,000 Palestinian Children Killed in 3 Months. 100 Days =120 Children Killed per Day. =Auschwitz.

  • John Baker says:

    I counted 26 people in the photo. What is the cost? How many needy South Africans could have got a decent meal instead?

  • Christopher Lang says:

    Who’s picking up the legal expenses tab for this folly?

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      Human lives is more valuable than silver and gold, I will happily pay my tax to that effect

      • Ben Harper says:

        Really??? Don’t you think the destitute and starving millions in SA are more deserving of that attention rather than spending it on this charade

    • Bill Gild says:

      We, the taxpayers.

      • Coen Gous says:

        Oh man, is that what this is about? Please, you insult Daily Maverick contributors

        • Richard Blake says:

          Yes it is. When 200 thousand South Africans have been murdered in 10 years. Our tax money should be spent on saving South African lives. Considering that South Africa is now ranked the 7th most dangerous country in the world, and a conviction rate of 6.8% for murder. The focus should be at home in our own back yard.

        • Ben Harper says:

          What does Palestine contribute to the development and upliftment of Sa and South African citizens? How much trade is done with Palestine and how much to they contribute to the SA fiscus? How much Direct Foreign Investment comes from Palestine, other than the rent they pay on the Hamas office in Fordsburg?
          How has Palestine and Hamas in particular contributed to the growth and upliftment of South African?

          Now why on EARTH should South African Taxpayers be footing the bill for this charade?

          • Andre Schmidt says:

            Agree with your statement. And further to that, ” don’t trouble trouble when trouble doesn’t trouble you “. The aftermath of this expensive futile SA exercise will be felt afterwards. Hamas is a terrorist organisation, why on earth support them unless you share the same values.

  • Paulo Moço says:

    Russia >< Ukraine, how does that differ from this case, I imagine it's down to mathematics and human factor comes in second.

  • Hervey Williams says:

    This could be the South African Government’s finest hour.

  • Khongelani Ngobeni says:

    I initially wasn’t convinced that Israel is commiting genocide, until viewing some of the statements made by their leadership.

    Ya, it’s not looking too good for Israel at this point. I think there will be a lack of respect for international law if South Africa doesn’t win this case.

    • Johan Buys says:

      sadly : I believe this court case will not stop the killing or have any consequence other than for the next 100y nobody can be prosecuted for anything.

      If India does same in a region next to them, they’ll just point the “what about Gaza” finger and walk away free. Same for every batshit crazy Civil War anywhere.

    • Geoff Coles says:

      It’s the politicians, most countries have the same big mouths, including our own.

  • Pet Bug says:

    All those with this SA flag scarfs should not be anywhere near this tribunal.
    Taints the serious nature of the claimed crime.
    Purported genocide is a crime against humanity, all humanity, and no nation can claim rights to proclaiming it. Either you’re a universal human or you a nationalist.

    Unless of course some deem themselves greater and more worthy than the supposed affected mortals.

    • Ben Harper says:

      SA should be nowhere near this court, it’s hypocritical, the anc supported and protected a genocidal maniac that slaughtered 400,000 people in South Sudan, they have NO place challenging anyone on this laughable charge

  • Johan Buys says:

    SA would have much more credibility if in its argument it also called for global sanctions on all actors that support Hamas in money and weapons.

    If Israel filled the tunnels with toxic gas I would have no problem with it at all. Hamas deserves to be eliminated like a rabid pest after that attack on non-combatants.

    israel’s belligerent response deserves condemnation. There is no excuse for what is going on if you are even ¼ human.

  • Graeme de Villiers says:

    I wonder why they aren’t wearing their Palestine scarves?

  • Domini Canton says:

    Let’s check their bank accounts before and after

  • Gordon Cyril says:

    “…South Africa’s application is all the more mendacious in its attempt to present Israel’s lawful defence as genocide. South Africa’s attempts to play fast and loose with the definition spells trouble for all those who are committed to the rule of law and international legal order. Further arguments that South Africa’s application in support of Hamas makes South Africa itself complicit in Hamas’s genocide – in violation of the Genocide Convention – and provides material support for terrorism, in violation of South Africa’s duties under UN Security Council Resolution 1373 including legal obligations not to support terror and to take necessary steps to prevent the commission of terrorism, contribute to the commission of terrorist crimes under relevant international conventions to which SA is a party, including the International Conventions for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings.

    If the ICJ succumbs to this, it risks becoming an instrument of antisemitic apartheid and losing its credibility for the international legal order.

    SA’s actions are a new outrage, falsely blames the real victims of a genocidal attack for perpetrating genocide where their restraint in self-defence has been unparalleled. This abuse of international legal institutions should worry every champion of justice and the rule of law. Its damaging effect on the international legal order and the credibility of international law is palpable. ..” (NH)

    • Ben Harper says:

      Well said Gordon!

    • Hennie Booysen says:

      It seems as if you were paraphrasing someone else here – the 90+ word sentence makes little sense, and then makes a conclusion with no link to the paragraph. most confusing ………

    • Really Honestly says:

      Yes Gordon. This charade is about obfuscation (of the SA governments failures on nearly every front), virtue signaling (seen to be supporting the trendy cause), and pathetic lap dog diplomacy to many of the new BRICS members.

  • John Sievwright says:

    Could South Africa be used as a front for the new Bricks grouping that has taken on a Muslim influence with Russia and China wanting to oppose NATO?

  • I have never felt a resurgent proud feeling of being South African as much as I did since Minister Naledi Pandor addressed Parliament about this conflict giving our history as background and her own grand parents experience in Durban. This action by our government made me feel one with the Palestinians and all other nations who are occupied, oppressed or at war for survival and freedom. No amount of violence will make Israel free from any resistance in their region because their supporters do not have to worry about any agression from neighbors. I wish the court finds in our government’s favor and stop the carnage.

    • Ben Harper says:

      so you’re cool with them supporting a convicted genocidal maniac that slaughtered 400,000 people in South Sudan then. This so-called action is hypocritical

    • Rosie B says:

      Proud of Naledi Pandor? She is not fit for international relations. She has no tact and is judgemental. Mentioning her own history is evidence of her bias opinion. She could not perform as an educator for children but is responsible for our country’s international relations. Totally a poor choice. She should develop emotional intelligence and display self restraint and impartiality.

  • Sliver Fox says:

    From a humanitarian position I completely agree, the killing must stop. In the same voice, Hamas must be stopped and Palistine must be freed from their terror grip. They initiated this escalation knowing full well that retaliation will follow and that Palestinian civilians will be caught in the crossfire. They are no less guilty than Israel for Palestinian deaths. Their actions need to be condemned and they need to be declared a terrorist organisation.

  • Meshack Mahlangu says:

    Well done SA🇿🇦🇿🇦🇿🇦, factual presentation on the landmark genocidal intent case

  • Richard Blake says:

    Some damaging stuff here.

  • ZA Patriot says:

    I’m proud to be South African today. We should do everything in our power to stop a genocidal, Apartheid state that is Israel from committing more murder. 25 000+ women and children killed. It’s shameful the amount of whataboutism that occurs in the comments. Yes, the ANC have been a disappointment in the past 20 years. But for the government to stand against Apartheid Israel and genocide is a good thing for democracy and human rights.

    • Ben Harper says:

      so you’re proud that they support a convicted genocidal maniac that slaughtered 400,000 people in South Sudan then are you or is it just a case of selective outrage where it’s OK to carry out mass murder on one people but not another?

  • Moss Phali says:

    That legal team, when they are done in Netherlands, they must also do justice to South Africans and deal with state capture report and assist our criminal justice system to fight corruption. I hear that they have presented the brilliant case, I hope they will have mercy on South Africans and be brilliant again and assist citizens who are under attack by corrupt politicians.

    Corruption make dead alive..

  • Andre Swart says:

    Hamas started a devastating WAR by attacking Israel and has been launching more than 13 000 missiles to kill more Israeli civilians, since 7 October.

    Hamas launch their lethal rockets from public places such as hospitals and schools with the intend of abusing patients and children as human shields to protect them from Israel.

    The civilians in Gaza support Hamas and participate in the war.

    Israel has the right to defend themselves against the cruel and immoral terrorists of Hamas!

  • Dawn Sproson says:

    Apparently SA has an average murder rate of 75 people per day. Over 22 000 per year. They should remove the beam from their own eye before seeking to assist the sight of others

  • Vincent Edgar says:

    What a farce

  • Armin Schrocker says:

    What is the cost of this exercise for South Africa and who pays for it?

  • Johann Olivier says:

    So … where are the comments?

  • Gary Palmer says:

    Once again the ANC government wishes to extract the splinter from the eye of another government whilst its own citizens suffer years of injustices and genocide, in its own back yard. The log in its own eye obviously not visible in it’s self righteous glee at pointing fingers to distract from it’s own lack of acceptable governance.

    Donating millions to Cuba or offering jobs to them when South African doctors are unemployable. There are thousands of children suffering malnutrition and dying in our own country. There is more rape and killing in South Africa than in Gaza, yet our legal experts are out on excursion to correct Israel on fighting back for its own people. What about our country? What about doing right for South African Citizens? How about cleaning up the festering, bubbling, puss of corruption in it’s own heart?

  • Jeff Robinson says:

    I agree that the actions of the IDF in Gaza constitutes genocide. But it MUST be acknowledged that the ultimate purveyor of genocide is none other than Yahweh/Jehova/Allah. When he/she/it decided to obliterate humankind in the flood (sans Noah and family) this entailed the genocide of innocent children. Indeed, the Israelites enraged this meglomaniac by not completing the job with the Midianites (although he/she/it did spare all the virgins for the pleasure of his “chosen people”). All three Abrahamic religions claim divine sanction for their atrocious acts and it seems unlikely that there would be such levels of conflict if people could give up these absurd beliefs. So sad that the majority of Africans continue to embrace them

  • Jan HK says:

    I honestly don’t understand how a people who survived their own genocide turns around and commits genocide to another people.

  • James Francis says:

    Imagine if we had this legal talent to prosecute corrupt politicians. I can dream, can’t I?

  • Vic Winkelman says:

    Dear DM
    Can one of your journalists please post a spreadsheet of how much this “jaunt” to the Netherlands is costing SA and who’s paying?

    Did the “delegation” fly SAA? 1st class, Business or Economy?
    Where are they staying – B&B or 5 Star luxury?
    How long will they be staying in the Netherlands?

    My guess – the SA tax-payer?

  • Geoff Coles says:

    I am wondering whether Ferial’s one-sided comments will be extended, as a journalist, to Israel’s arguments.

  • Is Israel not allowed to defend its own people? There is always more than one side to a story. What gives South African politicians the right to judge another country’s right to protect themselves. They are not speaking on behalf of the majority of South Africans. The legal team should be focusing on prosecuting our corrupt leaders within our own corrupt country rather than criticizing another.

  • Shadrack Maretela says:

    It’s my believe destroyed the seed of a maleka was read as an injection to kill Palestine as a group its a genocide against humanity
    Shadrack maretela

  • gerardmatt says:

    Apartheid: A policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race. Sounds exactly like what B.E.E. is.

  • Tony Freeman says:

    The hypocrisy astounds me, what about Putin’s war against Ukraine

  • Leon Hugo says:

    If an organized group of “people” massacre >100 people that they do not like, they will (should) be eliminated from society. For comparison: say a group of (white) Afrikaner weerstandsbewegng will enter Soweto and kill thousands of (black) people, the ANC government will (correctly) move in and blast them all out. Nothing left. OK? Agree? Have you seen the horrendous vides taken by Hamas themselves? Chopping off the head of a civilian man to pieces with an axe, shooing a baby in its cot – blood all over, breaking the pelvis of a girl whilst gang raping her, pulling a man along the tar road behind a scooter……and we could carry on. Atrocities that will become our experience in the West if Hamas is to take control. Your children! ..if you are not a Muslim of course. Jihad to all non Muslims. Pick your choice madam.

  • Leon Hugo says:

    Ms Haffajee, if your dear little girl has been gang raped to the point of breaking her pelvis by a group of “poor neglected disadvantaged people” will you have sympathy for them? Just asking.

  • Egmont Rohwer says:

    Shouldn’t South Africa look at itself first before pointing a finger at Israel, after all, when you point a finger at someone, 3 fingers point back at yourself. Rape capital of the world, rampant corruption etc. etc.

    • Annemarie Berry says:

      Agree wholeheartedly, why is the EFF never taken on when singing genocidal songs in open forum? Our president really needs to practice what he preaches

    • Annemarie Berry says:

      Agree wholeheartedly, why is the EFF never taken on when singing genocidal songs in open forum? Our president really needs to practice what he preaches

  • Iam Fedup says:

    As a South African I am deeply embarrassed by the actions of our corrupt and incompetent ANC ruling party. They don’t speak on my behalf, nor that of millions of my fellow countrymen, and it’s just a ruse to hide their failure and to win them votes from my less-sophisticated compatriots. All of the speeches made were just full of empty platitudes. The problem is not the message – I think we are all for peace and non-violence. The problem is the messenger. I’ve said it before: it’s like the pimp in a brothel complaining about human rights being violated. They have zero credibility.

  • Frank Thompson says:

    Breathtaking hypocrisy from the SA GOVT. Why are they silent on the disgraceful aggression and war crimes of Putin’s Russia in Ukraine?
    Praise for SA’s legal team is misplaced in light of this hypocrisy and lack of balance in dealing with the catastrophe in Gaza

  • Sarah Davies says:

    As wrong as everything is that is happening there, including and let us not forget the original attack by Hamas, which is only so very briefly mentioned in this article, can South Africa really afford to be fighting this fight? That huge impressive legal team must be costing the country (aka the taxpayer) a fortune and one that could be way better spent on a myriad of issues at home.

  • Alan Jeffrey says:

    Look at that big group of expensive lawyers. Whilst millions struggle in SA money is spent on this pie in the sky c**p. What a useless and disgusting bunch of hypocrites we have in charge!

  • Gavin Williams says:

    There are human rights associations in Israel. May they be listened to.

  • Annemarie Berry says:

    I think SA presented well and am listening to Israel rebuttal today, equally eloquent, compelling and reasonable. What I would like to see though is another country taking one of our opposition parties to task re utterances of “kill the boer, kill the farmer which smacks of genocide in our own country. I have never heard our government taking him and his party to task the way they are doing to Israel. Saying this, I abhor any military conflict and violence but let us look towards our own issues as well?

  • Jews think they are better than everyone else because the bible says they are the chosen ones. They wrote the bible in favour of themselves, they deserve whats coming to them.

  • Dave Barnes says:

    It is well known, particularly in the middle east, that if you attack Israel and kill their women and children, you incur the ultimate wrath and retaliation. So, those who attacked, murdered and tortured, and those who supported them knew what would be unleashed. It is no surprise. When will it stop? When it is finished. Sad but true.

  • Rosie B says:

    I disagree with South Africa’s decision to charge Israel with genocide against Palestine. While I am critical of Israel’s actions post-Hamas assault, it’s important to maintain open relations with all countries. Given South Africa’s limited military capacity, engaging in conflicts and upsetting allies may not be strategically wise.

  • Rosie B says:

    The South African government’s move to accuse Israel of genocide sparks controversy. Whether the allegations hold true or not, it raises questions about the wisdom of throwing stones when residing in a glass house. South Africa, with its own complexities, adds a layer of controversy to the critique.

  • John Smythe says:

    Hassim forgot to include the release of Isreali hostages as her fifth point.

  • This team of people do not represent the South Africa people but the ANC regime. The ANC should first clear up the mess in our own country before they try and tell another how to protect its people.

    • John Smythe says:

      95% correct. The other 5% is for those who seem to have forgotten that on 7 October, Hamas murdered, tortured, decapitated, burned, raped 1300 Israeli men, woman, children and babies within a few hours! And then took over 240 of them hostage back into Gaza. And that after an agreed ceasefire took effect on 6 October and Hamas decided to break the very next day!

  • Gordon Clarke says:

    So, this government can spend a fortune sending a humungous delegation to The Hague, to argue for something that affects South Africa in no way, and still supports the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but cannot muster sufficient expertise to extradite the Guptas from the Middle East. Double standards or delusions of grandeur, or what?

  • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

    How would the Israelites be able to hit Hamas in such a closely inhabited place as Gaza without killing Palestinians, especially with Hamas hiding in or under schools and other public buildings?
    “Hamas members please step two passes ahead”? After Oct. 7th you cannot expect them to do nothing.

    From CNN: ” A research company, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR), has just published the findings of its latest survey into Palestinian attitudes.

    Seven hundred and fifty adults were interviewed face to face in the West Bank, and 481 were interviewed in Gaza, also in person. The Gaza data collection was done during the recent truce, when it was safer for researchers to move about.

    The survey, which has a four-point margin of error (rather than the usual three-point), found that almost three-quarters (72%) of all respondents believe Hamas’s decision to launch its attack on Israel on October 7 was “correct.”
    Less than a quarter (22%) said it was “incorrect.”

  • Sven Coles says:

    It’s ironic that these SA legal experts are so intent on highlighting another country’s damages inflicted on another. Meanwhile the SA government has wrought innumerable damages on their own electorate… for years…. causing poverty… hardship… lack of work and opportunities. It would be a whole lot better to focus on sorting the domestic issues before making statements and initiating actions on other country’s issues or actions.

  • Bob Kuhn says:

    The ANC’s hypocrisy is simply astounding as they happily sell arms to the Saudis and UAE who have been waging a genocidal war against Yemen indiscriminately targeting innocent civilians (with our weapons mind you) and creating a human rights disaster where tens of thousands of infants and children starve from malnutrition?

    What say you anc from the lofty heights of your immoral high horses?

    But I suppose if it one Muslim sect killing another, it does not require the same action or sanction they mindlessly impose on Israel whose fate is determined by these very Yemenese tribes who want to wipe them from the face of the earth.

  • Ron Baatjes says:

    Hopefully,when this matter is sorted,our learned? friends from the legal community will rapidly tackle the silent genocide this government is committing against its own citizens.

  • Robin Phillips says:

    All very well for SA to take the legal higher ground when we cant keep our own country clean from many many inequalities.
    How much is this going to cost the fiscus –

  • Robin Phillips says:

    All very well but SA cannot sort out all of our many inequaltities. We are claiming the higher ground??? Also I wonder how many millions is being spent on this when our internal legal system is in many ways is a joke?

  • Michael Evans says:

    We always used to compare Israel to apartheid South Africa. Now it is far worse. It is following in the footsteps of Nazi Germany and Netanyahu is the true successor to Adolph Hitler.

  • Vas K says:

    South Africa has been a laughing stock of the world for years. Now we are also useful idiots.

  • G. Strauss says:

    The merits of this case aside, it is a scandal and a slap in the face of every South African that this crock of incompetent crooks, who cannot seem to successfully prosecute criminals in their own ranks, and whose people suffer violence, poverty, lack of education, healthcare etc., should take another state to court for perceived crimes, and that decked out in national flag scarves – can you imagine a British, German or any other prosecutor at an international court doing the same? And what does the minister of justice do there? He’s not a functionary of the Netherlands government or the ICC. What a bunch of clowns.

  • PJ R says:

    Good ol hypocrite Zane Dangor. He went to the same court to get temporary amnesty for PUTIN to attend the BRICS summit.

  • cynbar says:

    Just a few questions:
    * what is the fee-cost of the assembled legal minds, career diplomats and other hangers-on in the first photo?
    *the essence of the eloquent submissions by the SA team is worryingly close to the minority view of the threat of “Kill the boer” encitement – how does government reconcile their refusal to act on the latter whilst assuming the role of the international conscience in the former?
    *who will stand up in the ICJ to defend or acccuse either Russia or Ukraine where very similar human tragedies have been witnessed for a much longer period?

  • Jane Retief says:

    Thank you for this excellent article.

  • jobstbod says:

    Thank you Feriel for your well-written piece. Your ‘Ubuntu’ focus indeed lends an interesting angle to the present application launched before the ICJ. From a ‘humanity/ humanness’ point of view one cannot but agree with the merits of SA’s application. From a legal perspective, the stellar team selected, cogently and concisely presented the case seemingly covering all angles with a fair mix of drama and high-brow legal posturing. Many of the comments thus far constitute the usual mix of knee-jerk reactions, emotivity, and outrage. I must agree with the point made that the SA government was right in challenging Israel’s blanket approach in pursuit of Hamas and its dire consequences to the Palestinian population.

    What is however clearly contestable is the government’s true motivation behind its application in terms of the Genocide Convention. Can one blame the skeptics? I think not. The past few years have seen a dramatic departure from Mandela’s undertaking of a principled foreign policy based on the upholding of human rights and justice and becoming “a moral compass and a voice of reason in the world”, whilst promoting peace and security, has sadly been cast away. In its stead, we have seen blind and blinkered allegiance to countries that had historically supported the ANC in exile and its military operations against the former apartheid regime and, sadly, to tyrants and dictators (Al Bashir, Putin, Gadaffi et al) Could the upcoming elections and especially an attempt to shore up lost voter support in the Western Cape possibly have been a contributing factor in the government’s highly publicized action at the ICJ?
    Finally, as to the prospects of success of SA’s application: it will be interesting to see how the ICJ will rule on the competing and conflicting interests between the Palestinians and Israel. Putting a stop to the alleged genocide against the Palestinians living in Gaza must be a priority. On the one hand, the court will surely not easily completely take away Israel’s internationally recognized right to defend its citizens against external attacks. Let’s hope that the collective wisdom of the ICJ judges will come up with a solution that will protect the lives of innocent civilians and especially those of women and children on both sides

  • Marthinus Wissing says:

    The Israel defense team’s reply exposed the SA team’s arguments somewhat. I am no legal expert, but if it was true what SA team said, then there has been some real examples of genocide in Zimbabwe and currently Russia, and no action or even a mention from SA team.
    I believe the SA team could destroy the last bit of hope the International community still had for SA.
    Why does CR and team not even try to stop murders and criminal activity from mafia like syndicates in SA, but rather focus on Israel?

  • wolfgang_12 says:

    So October 7th 2023 never happened? Israel just made that up as an excuse to wipe-out the Palestinians? Palestinian people support Hamas……allow Hamas to use their land to wage war on Israel. The ANC gov are guilty themselves of a genocide that is happening at a very slow pace in the rural farmlands of this country. Hypocrites!

  • Jack Russell says:

    So SA, a country laid waste by the ANC, topping the world on rape, murder and most other negative indicators, headed to bankruptcy, has the gall to talk on matters of morality and the money to dispatch hordes of people to the UN? I smell an outsize rat here?

    I would suggest that on the basis of precedent the war itself, the nature of the war and its continuation, all relate back to actions, or inactions, by Hamas, imply very clearly that Israeli actions are not about genocide and, in fact if anyone has ideas about genocide they are a stated desire of Hamas?
    WWII provides an interesting parallel. Germany and Japan started the war. In order to defend themselves the allies responded. A point was reached where the Axis forces were effectively beaten, their continuation of the war was pointless, would not change the outcome and indeed would result in the deaths of millions of their people…….. which with carpet bombing of cities like Dresden, Cologne and Berlin, atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in order to force a surrender, came about.
    Hamas is in precisely that position today. If it was not run by unhinged and genocidal madmen it would many months ago have surrendered and handed back the hostages in order to prevent the horrendous destruction which it has, without any care at all, brought upon its people.

    Part of this would have been negotiations – with the heads of both groups bashed together until a conclusion reached – on the futures of Gaza and Israel.

  • Audrey Matthewson says:

    Do you honestly think that SA has the right to bring this accusation to the ICC. I honestly believe that we are being used by Putin as a distraction whilst he continues to destroy Ukraine. Israel was given its land in 1948 and the Palestinian fanatics just cannot handle the fact that from the desert came a thriving community.

  • razkhan811 says:

    Here to read the comments from fellow South Africans…

  • Marcus Beijer says:

    I see a next case coming up: The people of SA versus the ANC government. Why? Millions of SouthAfricans are deprived of food and jobs because of State capture, self enrichment and corruption which is still ongoing. They (ANC politicians) show contempt towards their own people, so for what reason are they interested in people far away from SA.

  • Michael Hayman says:

    Screw the International Court of Justice. We all know how the vote is going to go. There is no Israel problem. The world has a humanitarian problem This application from a corrupt bunch of hypocrites is laughable. I am sure that 70% of the current ANC voter base do not have a clue that there is a court case in this regard.

  • Michael Hayman says:

    What a joke of an article. I have always been ashamed of our government. Now I am embarrassed to call myself a South African.

  • Jack Russell says:

    Firstly we have a stuffed up country and a ragingly incompetent government……. but we have money, and the hypocrisy, to launch this showboating?

    More important, I would suggest that on the basis of precedent the war itself, the nature of the war and its continuation, all relate back to actions, or inactions, by Hamas, imply very clearly that Israeli actions are not about genocide and, in fact if anyone has ideas about genocide they are a stated desire of Hamas?
    WWII provides an interesting parallel. Germany and Japan started the war. In order to defend themselves the allies responded. A point was reached where the Axis forces were effectively beaten, their continuation of the war was pointless, would not change the outcome and indeed would result in the deaths of millions of their people…….. which with carpet bombing of cities like Dresden, Cologne and Berlin, atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in order to force a surrender, came about.
    Hamas is in precisely that position today. If it was not run by unhinged and genocidal madmen it would many months ago have surrendered and handed back the hostages in order to prevent the horrendous destruction which it has, without any care at all, brought upon its people

  • Oom Dugk says:

    When political leaders fails they look to foreign affairs to distract from the problems at home.

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      That will be very unfortunate Oom, hopefully it will contribute in saving the poor lives being lost.
      The Israel attack, the flattening of Gaza Its all heartbreaking.

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