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Diplomatic fallout of ICJ ruling on Israel could put SA’s Agoa renewal at risk

Diplomatic fallout of ICJ ruling on Israel could put SA’s Agoa renewal at risk
Illustrative image | On 11 and 12 January 2024, South Africa asked the International Court of Justice in The Hague to rule on possible acts of genocide by Israel in the Gaza Strip. (Photos: Michel Porro / Getty Images | EPA-EFE / Remko de Waal | Michel Porro / Getty Images | Peter Boer / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

After taking one of the US’s key allies to court, Pretoria will need agile diplomacy to save the Agoa trade agreement, officials say.

South Africa’s relations with Israel have nosedived, possibly irretrievably, after it took Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on genocide charges. In addition, Pretoria may have jeopardised its preferential trade access to the lucrative US  market through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

South African diplomats are scurrying to try to save Agoa and other US aid.

SA has won much praise internationally and especially in the Global South for persuading the World Court to determine last Friday that there was a plausible case of genocide committed by Israel against the Palestinians of Gaza.

The court ordered Israel to prevent genocide, to prevent and punish incitement to genocide and to increase humanitarian aid to Gaza. But it stopped short of ordering Israel to implement a ceasefire in Gaza, which was the maximum provisional measure Pretoria had called for. 

It also called on Hamas to release its remaining hostages whom it captured in its attack on Israel on 7 October. 

The element of compromise by the ICJ allowed both sides to declare victory.

Soured relations

Israel’s national carrier, El Al, was reported to have suspended its scheduled flights to Johannesburg from 1 April because of the ICJ case and a decline in demand for the route. Two major supermarkets in Israel, Shufersal and Rami Levy, have stopped ordering grapes from South Africa because of concern about a boycott by Israeli customers, according to the SA Jewish Report.

The ICJ case has also soured relations with the US, though whether there will be consequences for SA is not yet clear. That may depend on adroit diplomacy from South Africa. Some officials believe that Pretoria could still avert punishment and get away with nothing more than bursts of angry and vituperative rhetoric from the US Congress. 

Like the US, the UK and Germany publicly disagreed with SA’s referral of Israel and insisted that Israel was exercising a legitimate right to self-defence rather than committing genocide. But Pretoria does not expect any harm to its relations with them or with other European Union countries. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Middle East news crisis hub

Germany even saw something positive in the ICJ ruling — but also suggested that Pretoria should play a role in persuading Hamas to release the remaining hostages and stop its attacks on Israel. 

“The court ordered some significant measures to prevent a further deterioration of [the] humanitarian situation,” said a source close to the German embassy in Pretoria. “As we would have expected it to too, given the gravity of the case. 

“In that sense, the SA case has had positive results. No ceasefire, though. Hopefully, the provisional measures can be an element to achieve progress on the ground. Problem is that [the] court only binds state parties, ie, Israel, not Hamas.

“Therefore it only ‘asked’ for [the] release of hostages. But for improvement on the ground, Hamas must play a part as well (stop missile and other attacks on Israel). And who gets Hamas to do so? SA?”

The EU reacted to the ICJ’s ruling by reaffirming its continuing support for the ICJ as “the principal judicial organ of the United Nations” and insisting, “Orders of the International Court of Justice are binding on the parties and they must comply with them. The European Union expects their full, immediate and effective implementation.”

The real problem remains the US, SA official sources say.

An ‘affront’ to US allies

Atilla Kisla, the head of international justice at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, said the provisional measures that the ICJ ordered had sent an important message to all the member states of the Genocide Convention that Israel was now potentially committing acts of genocide.  

“And so from the perspective of states like the US who are aiding Israel and sending arms, that these countries might also potentially contribute to the genocide if the court later decides that genocide was committed in Gaza. It builds up pressure on Israel and on its allies. They might now give them aid but with conditions.”

Bob Wekesa, the deputy director of the African Centre for the Study of the United States at Wits University, said that apart from offending Israel, Pretoria must have been aware that its action would also have wider geopolitical consequences because it was targeting one of the US’s key allies in Washington’s widening war against its many enemies in the Middle East, including Iran, Syria and Islamist fundamentalists and terrorists. 

“The US will consider it an affront to a key ally on matters of security in the Middle East,” he said.

Wekesa said South Africa had embarrassed Washington by placing it in the awkward situation of having to choose between its ally Israel and the world’s highest court. 

“So I think the US will use its leverage in matters economical. Look at the leverage they have at hand. They have Pepfar [which has spent billions of rands on fighting Aids in SA], for example, where SA is one of the largest recipients. They might even want to revisit the issue of Agoa. In this, they will rely on all these senators including Chris Coons and others who have been very critical of SA.”

He was referring to a bill proposed by Democrat Senator Coons to renew Agoa in general by 16 years when it expires next year, and for the US administration to conduct an immediate out-of-cycle review of SA’s continued eligibility.

Read more in Daily Maverick: South Africa pins its hopes on an early 2024 US Congress renewal of Agoa

Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, the national director of the SA Institute of International Affairs, also thought it was possible that the US Congress could retaliate against Pretoria by excluding it from Agoa, which is up for renewal this year. But she didn’t think the Biden administration would support that. 

“I think the Republicans are going to be rabid about it and there might be consequences for Agoa. That’s already on the table. So that could be an issue we might have to deal with. But I don’t think the Biden administration is going to come down like a ton of bricks on SA. They might make some statements, but I think they will be a little more nuanced.”

US response

Republican Michael McCaul, the chairperson of the House of Representatives foreign affairs committee, angrily condemned both SA and the ICJ’s ruling.

“The US must continue to provide unwavering support to Israel to defend itself against the threat posed by Hamas,” he said.

“I am deeply concerned that South Africa’s claims are politically motivated, highlighting its close ties with Hamas, and demonstrating its efforts to align with Iran, Russia, and the Chinese Communist Party’s interests.”   

But the Biden administration’s response was measured. Samidha Redkar, the deputy spokesperson for the US embassy in Pretoria, told Daily Maverick after the ICJ ruling that: “The United States recognises that the International Court of Justice plays a vital role in the peaceful settlement of disputes.

“We have consistently made clear that Israel must take all possible steps to minimise civilian harm, increase the flow of humanitarian assistance and address dehumanising rhetoric.

“The court’s ruling is also consistent with our view that Israel has the right to take action to ensure the terrorist attacks of October 7 cannot be repeated, in accordance with international law.

“We continue to believe that allegations of genocide are unfounded and note the court did not make a finding about genocide or call for a ceasefire in its ruling and that it called for the unconditional, immediate release of all hostages being held by Hamas.”

This statement implied that the ICJ ruling might even have helped the US by declining to order a ceasefire, yet bolstering the US’s appeal to Israel to minimise civilian harm, increase humanitarian aid and muzzle Israeli officials who incite indiscriminate attacks against Palestinians. 

And when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was asked, at a press conference in Luanda last Thursday, whether SA’s referral of Israel to the ICJ would harm its relations with the US, he suggested they would not. He said this disagreement “doesn’t take away from the important work that we’re doing together in so many other areas and that we’ll continue”.

Pretoria’s position

SA officials told Daily Maverick they believed it was still possible to prevent punishment by the US. They hoped that any further congressional reaction would only be rhetorical and that this being an election year might distract Congress from any action against SA. 

The officials are also counting on Congress not wanting to undermine the ICJ by attacking Pretoria too harshly for its actions against Israel because they believe that would also be an attack on the court itself. 

If that is so, Friday’s ruling by the ICJ ordering Israel to take measures to prevent genocide might have helped SA’s cause, because now that the World Court has accepted that Israel has a genocide case to answer, SA enjoys some protection from the court, Pretoria believes.

Last week, 210 members of the US House of Representatives, mostly Republican but also some Democrats, issued a strong statement expressing their “disgust” at SA taking Israel to the ICJ and fully supporting Israel’s right to defend itself in Gaza against Hamas. 

A SA official said he believed that the signatories of the letter had deliberately issued it before the ICJ ruling on Friday, “so that they should not be seen to be undermining the court. Because if it had gone after the judgment there is no way you would say they are not undermining the court.” DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • John M says:

    The South African government has been poking the bear for years, and having to suffer the consequences is only a matter of time

  • Ben Harper says:

    Yup, definitely an own goal! The pro-Hamas supporters can guffaw and beat their chests all they like claiming a “win” but the reality is SA has lost. Expect massive withdrawal of FDI and loss of AGOA benefits

    • Malcolm Mitchell says:

      Not just Agoa, but across the whole economic spectrum! Expect worse still when Trump is re-elected. Unfortunately it is us and the poorer people who will suffer, not the political fat cats!!

    • Lawrence Sisitka says:

      All the usual suspects and their expected responses. But maybe we should really try to avoid selling out the clearly correct ethical and moral humanitarian position for the sake of economic expediency.

      • Dee Bee says:

        I’m not sure protecting the jobs of tens of thousands of auto and agricultural workers and the billions of dollars in export revenues can be called ‘economic expediency’ in a country with an unemployment rate north of 40% and a state that is killing thousands more jobs every week through its domestic policies. I take it you and your family don’t work in these sectors, but the collapse of companies and revenues and taxes will impact them, and more especially poor South Africans, very directly.

      • simphiwe dzina says:

        i couldn’t agree with you more….

        • Zamfoot 1 1 says:

          I would like to agree but for the glaring hypocrocy the ANC displayed in going to the ICC on this matter and not doing so in regards to Sudan for example where ingnoring the same courts request to arrest Bashir and threatened to leave the ICC. Closer to home Zimbabwe on mulitple occations … silence! Russia illegal invasion of Ukraine indiscrinant shelling of civilians ….silence! Putins areest warrent turned the ANC into babbiling fools.
          The ANCs motive for this action will have had Zero to do with anything close to a moral humanitarian position and more to do with acting as a proxy for their pay masters. Leopards dont change their spots.

      • Ben Harper says:

        Ethical and moral humanitarian position? So protecting a known perpetrator of genocide and giving him safe passage instead of enforcing the arrest warrant against him and inviting another murderer with an arrest warrant out for him and swearing they will fight to protect him is ethical and moral? Strange standards you have there or is that just the usual double standards applicable to the anc and its cadres only?

      • ANTHONY MCGUINNESS says:

        Lawrence, if in your comment the ‘correct ethical and moral humanitarian position’ means that you are referring to the ANC’s view of the situation in Palestine is correct then I beg to differ. If South Africa’s position was one of neutrality, then I would agree, but as usual South Africa chose not to condemn Hamas or any other affiliated country to terrorism and genocide being perpetrated in Yemen, Ukraine and China. South Africa has failed to condemn Iran’s supply of weapons to Terror Organizations worldwide, included Isis in Mozambique which South African soldiers are fighting against. An ANC self-serving approach to appease it’s master’s that do little for our economy and the poor in this country.

    • Ndabenhle Ngubane says:

      Any man who changes his principles depending on whom he is dealing with, is not a man who can lead a nation – Nelson Mandela.

    • Robby Kgomo says:

      The point is not denying Israel the right to self-defence, but indiscriminate killing of civilians, including women and children by a supposedly democratic state. The massacre commited by Hama’s doz not justify the mass bombing of civilians.

  • Ryno le Grange says:

    “I am deeply concerned that South Africa’s claims are politically motivated, highlighting its close ties with Hamas”

    If he could elaborate on this it will help. What close ties do the ANC government have with Hamas?

    • John Patson says:

      They go back years, and culminated when South Africa hosted a Hamas delegation after the October massacre. That is the public face.
      Whether South Africa has been funding Hamas through illicit channels is the hidden face (but which might well come to light.)

  • jcdville stormers says:

    ANC must fall

  • Robert Falkner says:

    Is it plausible that the ANC sees Hamas as freedom fighters, much as they were in the 80’s. That would explain the one sided view we are seeing. For the ANC, Hamas is not a terrorist organisation. The major difference for me is that in SA, the people want to and can coexist and build a nation. Hamas wants no such thing. The problem for Israel and Palestine is that there does not seem to be middle ground.

    • Willem Boshoff says:

      Exactly. Even if one were to applaud the court ruling and hope for much-needed humanitarian relief, it brings no one closer to a lasting solution. The state of Israel will continue to exist and defend itself. Hamas will continue to call for Israel’s destruction and will regroup. Unless Hamas and their allies recognise the state of Israel this current debacle will be on repeat. The argument that it’s an illegal occupation of Palestinian land will not create options for 9 million Israelis. One needs to accept the current reality and build a peaceful coexistence. One also cannot ignore that the excessive brutality of the 7 October attack intended to provoke an extreme response; one does not have to be too conspiratorially minded to see other actors and agendas at play here.

    • Roelf Pretorius says:

      No, there is substantial middle ground. Only not among the currently dominating politicians in Gaza and the Nethaneau government. But my information is that among the normal man in the street, there is a lot of goodwill between Israeli’s and Palestinians; maybe even more than that there was in SA in the late 1980’s. And it is clear that, even with what is going on in Gaza at the moment, it has not deterred most Arabian countries from wanting diplomatic relations with Israel. I suspect that this is the case because these countries realise that the main reason for Hamaz’s attack on Israel on 7 October was to derail the formation of diplomatic ties between Israel and the Arabs, and they don’t want to be manipulated. What has not happened though is for the UN (and also the USA) to realise that Israel is misunderstanding the creation of the state of Israel in about 1947 as an indication that Israel is being put on a pedestal, and that they can do what they like. In this sense the ICJ ruling is likely to send the right message.

      • Robby Kgomo says:

        Largely on point, but missed that most Arab countries have less appetite for a democratic n secular Palestinian state bcoz their own citizens will demand the same.

    • Roelf Pretorius says:

      . . . Also, as long as the Democrats are in the White House, I don’t expect an alienation of SA from the USA. Because there is a lot of support for Palestine in the USA, most of which exponents are voting for the Democrats. And even some moderate Republicans should understand that this actually sends the Israeli-Palestinian issue in the right direction. It is only if Trump would get back to the USA presidency that we may get trouble.

    • Ash Klaas says:

      That’s not truck. As a minimum Hamas wants Israel to leave their lands and return the strip to statehood and not the current open air prison it is.

      • Ben Harper says:

        Wrong, Hamas’ stated goal is to wipe Israel and Jews from the face of the earth

        • John P says:

          That was their original goal but it is no longer the case. The latest version of their manifesto allows for a two state solution however leaves the door open for the “from the River Jordan to the sea” ideal so is still unlikely to allow for a peaceful solution without changes.

      • Samuel Ginsberg says:

        A history lesson: Gaza had open borders between 2005 and 2007. The borders with Israel were only blocked when Hamas decided to start lobbing rockets at Israeli civilians. Also, notably, the border crossing with Egypt is closed too. That should tell you something.

        • John P says:

          Israel has been in control of the Gaza strip to a greater or lesser degree since 1967 with full control of it’s borders and has had a blockade in place since 2005. The Israeli settlement pullout of Gaza in 2005 still left Israel in control of all points of access including the coastline and an arrangement with Egypt to close that border. Water, electricity, telecommunications and more are under Israeli control. Israel reserved and still reserves the right to enter Gaza at any time militarily.

      • Ben Harper says:

        Gaza has never been a state, it’s a territory

  • Kevin Schaafsma says:

    There’s better than an even chance of Donald Trump being elected again later this year. He will without doubt cancel AGOA and PEPFAR and ensure South Africa feels pain for embarrassing Israel and the US.

    • Vic Mash says:

      What does the ordinary black South African from Khayelitsha benefit from AGOA? we don’t care about AGOA, we care that the people of Palestine get justice

      • Johan Buys says:

        You should care Vic : there will be job losses if AGOA is cancelled.

        • Vic Mash says:

          We Africans have been here before during the apartheid years, we know poverty and we are prepared to land a hand to those who are less fortunate and are in the position we have been for decades under the Afrikaner rule in Africa

          • Ben Harper says:

            So why are you so intent on getting rid of African foreign nationals from SA?

            Also I think you’ll find the “Afrikaners” only “ruled” in SA itself.

      • Ben Harper says:

        Tens of thousands of jobs

      • Random Comment says:

        This comment is akin to, “Let Them Eat Cake!”, for all its lack of concern for the working class.

        SA-USA trade amounted to US$24.5 billion (ZAR450Billion) in 2012, with a trade imbalance of US$9.3 billion in South Africa’s favour (source: The Conversation). That is a LOT of jobs and employment.

        I am not sure how you plan to feed the 10,000’s of people who depend on those AGOA exports for their daily bread. Perhaps, you could serve them helpings of “justice”?

      • Michael Thomlinson says:

        Vic, just to give you some insite: Here in the EC there are thousands of cars and automotive parts being exported every year. We also export a huge amount of fruit. AGOA plays a part in all of this making our exports competitive in countries like the USA not to mention the EU. If AGOA is cancelled, exports will drop off dramatically, which will lead to business closures and job losses. Maybe some of us more privelaged folk can ride the storm but your ordinary black SA will definitely feel it in his pocket and stomach!

        • Vic Mash says:

          Well here where i come from, have never benefited from those thousands of cars and automative parts being exported every year and even if we had, we cannot turn a blind eye to what apartheid israel is doing in Gaza, we chose humanity instead of jobs and economic freedom

          • Dee Bee says:

            Yes Vic, you have benefitted: the government takes 30% or so of every Rand generated by those exports and uses it to build infrastructure, provide hospitals, education, safety and security, as well as… what’s that? Never seen these wonders? Yes, well, that’s because all that lovely lolly from taxes had been siphoned off and stolen by the ANC.

          • Johan Buys says:

            Vic, our lawsuit will not even have a conclusion this decade. The same court ordered Putin out of Ukraine and before that wrt Crimea and he just ignored it.

            Our court case will not end the suffering in Gaza but it may very well cause misery for several million South Africans very soon.

            The world is not binary. We can like a host of countries including China and India express support for Gaza and call on Israel to suspend the attacks. We got the court to call on hostage release which I think has the most potential to create a ceasefire in the next few weeks.

          • Ben Harper says:

            Where do you come from? Mars?

      • Andre Swart says:

        1. 4 million+ HIV infected people will suffer if the USA stop funding PEPFAR.

        2. Starvation will increase when tens of thousands of jobs get shed because of SA’s exclusion from AGOA by the USA.

        Forget not the other negative trade relations with the Europian Union.

        Khayeltsha will eat and drink ANC ideology … because medicine (antiretrovirals), food and water will run out?

        • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

          There is an alternative to all the above mentioned, Palestinians buried in mass graves will never have any alternative, we cannot support the butchering of people in occupied Palestine for any return other than gratitude.
          Moral obligations inform us thou shall not kill for western benefits.

          • Ben Harper says:

            Myopic view if ever there was one. Is Palestine going to provide jobs for hundreds of thousands of South Africans? Is Palestine going to put food on the table of millions of starving children? And don’t for a moment think that your BRICS buddies are going to help out – they’re worse than broke.

            Oh and you want to talk about morals? Where were the morals when protecting and supporting Al Bashir and Putin when they were asked to enforce the arrest warrants against them?

      • Easy Does It says:

        Other times the debate is AGOA is for mutual benefit. USA does not do favours. If we had oil, we do. OT need China, the USA will build Kusile for free. Nothing for maahalaa

      • Samuel Ginsberg says:

        What does the ordinary South African from Khayalitsha care about Palestinians?
        Meanwhile the ordinary South African from Khayalitsha will lose their job if their employer can’t seem their product in the USA.

    • John P says:

      If Trump the maniac is elected this year who knows what he will do re SA. His friendship with Putin, Kim, Xi Jinping and Modi will probably means he ignores us and concentrates on getting back at those he perceives as having wronged him in the past.

      • Random Comment says:

        The “maniac”?
        Is that the same guy who brokered peace accords between Morocco and Israel; Sudan and Israel; UAE and Israel; and Bahrain & Israel?
        The same guy who started NO new wars while President?
        The same guy who sanctioned and placed tariffs on China?

        FYI, the alleged Russian collusion was proven to be a hoax – see google.

        That “maniac”?

        • John P says:

          Yes the same Trump that attempted an insurrection in his own country and is facing multiple court cases including fraud, libel and slander.

        • Rodney Weidemann says:

          That would be the ‘maniac’ who has committed sexual assault, cosied up to dictators, tried to upend Western Europe’s military organisation (to favour his buddy Putin), told more than 30 000 confirmed lies during his presidency, and who – when he lost the next election fair and square – tried to overthrow the democratically elected government of the country he professes to love: yes, THAT maniac.

    • dexter m says:

      If Trump is elected and Netanyahu is still PM. The current Saudi/Arab proposal will be pushed through . Their will be a Palestinian state in his term ,no long process . It will be take it or face the consequences to both parties. He will insist on the Nobel Peace Prize for being the only one in 75 years to solve this conflict.

  • Charles Butcher says:

    What the hell are we worried about the AGOA agreement for ,stuff the usa,the rest of the brics nations and the rest of the world will be DELIGHTED to buy up ALL OUR EXPORTS.

    • Richard Blake says:

      You missing the bigger picture. The US is one of South Africa biggest trading partners. If the rest of world

    • Ben Harper says:

      Hahahaha, really? Have you looked at the amount of trade SA gets from AGOA compared to the broke BRICS countries?

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      If you aren’t worried about the loss AGOA it can only be because you have no idea how much of our remaining manufacturing sector depends on it and I’d suggest you read up on it a bit. Our BRICS ‘partners’ buy commodities from us and invest almost nothing here. The US buys, amongst other things, the cars that they forego import duty revenue on so that our otherwise uncompetitive products have an outlet. If our BRICS mates and anyone else for that matter were potentially DELIGHTED about buying anything else they would be doing so already. The loss of AGOA on it’s own will result in hundreds of thousands of additional destitute South Africans.

      • Peter Oosthuizen says:

        Pretty sure China would love to have a South African Naval Base – at the same time they could fix the ports and everything else that’s wrong with Transnet.

        The car plants could be transferred to Great Wall Motors – win, win for everybody.

      • Louise Roderick says:

        And “we” will have no one left to stand up for the starving, helpless populace and the genocide we are facing and which will spiral out of control.

    • Dee Bee says:

      Um, no they won’t – and don’t. Global trade is a little more complex than waving a flag, shouting slogans and expecting people to come running in support. You actually need to produce goods people want at prices they can afford. Your BRICS saviours can’t afford SA cars and produce most of we do more cost effectively already.

    • Ben Harper says:

      Care to explain why the rest of the world haven’t been taking or exports in the past? Wakey Wakey!

    • Samuel Ginsberg says:

      Then why aren’t they?

  • EK SÊ says:

    Ramaphosa is now halaal? So an attack on him is haraam?

  • Alan Watkins says:

    “The ICJ case has also soured relations with the US, though whether there will be consequences for SA is not yet clear. That may depend on adroit diplomacy from South Africa”

    What are the chances that SA diplomats, inept as they are, could be adroit?

  • Llewellyn Curlewis says:

    any input from Cosatu and the Alliance – do workers come first?

  • Jimbo Smith says:

    The Law of Unintended Consequence….completely lost on our political geniouses! Of course there will be consequences; apart from Agoa; foreign investment will decline further, the economy will tank further and SA will increasingly entrench its position as a polecat nation. Perhaps SA can rely on ” adroit diplomacy” ….pie in the sky!

  • Wayne Stepanik says:

    The only vituperative rhetoric is the ANC (South Africa) whining about Israel’s actions without any meaningful sanction of Hamas. It is my opinion that South Africa rightfully lost its pro-terrorist case at the ICJ. The way some DM articles are worded these days hints at an alarming slant towards support of the ANC’s very jaundiced eye.

  • Richard Blake says:

    If Trump wins the US elections America’s wrath will be swift and immediate.

  • Shaun Watson-Smith says:

    Unusually fair article about the ICJ ruling, well done.

    • Mr OK says:

      Absolutely agree. In fact I was shocked to read this objective and unbiased article considering the Daily Maverick has become a mouthpiece for the pro-Palestinian cause.
      South African governments foreign policy of unwavering support for the world’s despots and dictatorships will drive the final nail into our failing economy.

  • Rae Earl says:

    So, SA is a hero for taking action which has done a lot of good. However, SA is now more than ever, seen to be a supporter of a major terrorist organisation after feting Hamas in meetings in South Africa after their 7th October slaughter of Israeli citizens. Aggravating the negatives of this is the ANC’s refusal to support Ukraine after it was invaded without reason by Russia. The ANC has single handedly given our country’s major trading partners and friends in the US, the UK, and the EU, the middle finger by siding with Hamas, Putin, and Iran. The possibility of the ANC having received large amounts of money from Iran in exchange for taking Israel to court is gaining traction. The ANC is well known for accepting bribes. SA cannot possibly afford to have this party in power for another 5 years.

  • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

    The backlash is expected, fortunately the global south is waiting for that opportunity.
    The big brother mentality of Europe and America towards Africa needed to stop at some point.
    It will hurt economically in the short term but we cannot respond by copying contradicting and racist response by Europe to occupiers actions.
    South Africa is doing the right thing.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    Adroit diplomacy by Direco and the ANC…… a joke right? …..they are supporters of Russian genocide, Chinese genocide, Hamas genocide…but Israel is different ! Element of compromise by the ICJ…bah!

  • Confucious Says says:

    SA has won praise from abroad? Praise from communist/dicatorships/third world countries… When you aim for the bottom of the barrel, the dregs welcome you with open arms!

  • Michael Bowes says:

    Of interest, the Court “Orders” Israel, but “Calls on” Hamas.
    Also, I notice that AGOA (how many jobs is that?) now depends on “Adroit Diplomacy” from South Africa – Isn’t that what’s called an Oxymoron?

    • Alexis Kriel says:

      Hamas is not a “State” – the ICJ has no jurisdiction over them – which means, you also can’t take them to the ICJ for a genocide against their own people.

  • Dhasagan Pillay says:

    This should actually be a really, really simple conundrum to navigate. In our modern world – optics are key… if everything is done publically, not hidden behind the nicety of diplomacy. This would actually make it very easy for everyone to smile and shake hands for photos, once DIRCO has made a strong (very public) call on Hamas to release all the hostages. The narrative has always been about minimising innocent casualties throughout this tragic catastrophe. It’s time to ride the wave in, so we can all sing Kumbaya around a beach bonfire – if all the actors have been genuine in their statements about wanting to love each other, co-existing in harmony and prosperity. So many ifs and butt(ing) heads mean that this probably won’t be the case. Le sigh.

  • Vusi Dladla says:

    The rule of law cum human rights vs the economy. It seems its either one or the other. Definitely, not both.

  • N Solomon says:

    The ICJ issued its ruling on provisional measures based on it’s finding that “at least some of the acts and omissions alleged by South Africa to have been committed by Israel in Gaza appear to be capable of falling within the provisions of the Genocide Convention.” The judges were near unanimous in their decision. Israel is not above the law and much will unfold over the next few months and years! It’s embarrassing to see how the Whitehouse and 10 Downing Street Admins kowtow to the Zionist lobbyist! Ordinary people, especially young people in the streets of London, Washington and Berlin see beyond the Zionist spin and will start pressurising their the leaders to get onto the right side of history! BDS and Free Palestine protests will gain impetus! It’s inevitable.

  • Louise Roderick says:

    Didn’t Auntie Peggy give a speech after the NEC shindig saying that if there were to be sanctions against SA bring them on, SA will survive?

  • Penny Philip says:

    Doubtful any of the above ‘possibilities’ will be enacted. It’s political posturing. With half of West Africa, CAR & DRC now having Russian influence to varying degrees, the US is not going to want to turn away from South Africa. Especially now that most European sea trade is having to come past Cape Town instead of going through the Suez. I have no doubt that the US had advanced warning of South Africa bringing this case. Rhetoric out of the US over the last months has been edging towards ‘concern’ over civilian deaths in Gaza . They were no doubt happy to let SA bring this case to get the message through to Israel, & at the same time avoiding offending any of their allies in the Middle East.

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      I hope you are right but doubt it. I think the US public opinion is about to turn inward and isolationist hard and that pouring money into unfillable holes like SA will lose the little appeal it has left. Things like AGOA cost the US non trivial amounts in lost revenue and are far from universally supported. The agricultural lobby being particular opponents of the unearned benefits we receive at the expense of farmers in the US. Our benefits under AGOA being unearned because our side of the bargain is to refrain from acting against the US’ interests. We are clearly not bringing our side of that bargain and as such they’ll need some very good excuses to justify not pulling it.

    • dexter m says:

      I think you may have a point the Biden administration has been getting no traction with the Israeli govt , whose actions are now endangering US national security interests . This i think was a wake up call to Israeli politicians do not bite that feeds you. This feel like deja vu the US previous key ally in the middle east was Iran (Shah) a problem child that did not listen to US advice and we know what happened , now its replacement since 1981 instead of being a asset is becoming a liability.

    • Ben Harper says:

      The detour around the Cape is temporary and frankly, shipping can stay comfortably outside SA’s territorial waters with no undue delay to their passage. There’s nothing SA can offer that is inviting to shipping companies to stop off here, even bunker fuel is way over priced while SARS holds the bunker industry at ransom so in short, there’s little interest anymore in the cape sea route and ever dwindling interest in SA as an investment and trade opportunity.

  • Pieter van de Venter says:

    I still wonder what did the ANC get out of using state resources to enhance the Iran/Hamas cause?? Surely the next round (hopefully) of party funds could be interesting.

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    We are nothing more than a yapping yorkie sitting on the lap of whichever totalitarian master is prepared to pay our political elite to do whatever tricks they need performed. We have now deposited enough poos on the seats of the western powers that the treats they shower us with in the form of endless aid packages and preferential trade deals are feeling like bad value to them. All of the feel good vibes that being on the ‘right side of history’ for a couple of minutes are going to feel very, very expensive when our economy goes into it’s final tail spin upon the withdrawal of AGOA which will be but the first of a cascade of similar freebies that we lose. I hope that the ‘justice for palestine at any price’ enthusiast here are still around to tell us how to be responding when the process begins.

  • I feel this articles headline is misleading, many things could happen, should an article be written about every potential outcome?

  • Johan Buys says:

    In a weird twist the court case and specifically the ruling that Hamas must release the hostages in a way has created a face saving way for Israel to de-escalate and Gaza to get relief. Both can say they had to do a deal, a deal which both sorely want right now.

    Israel needs to get its nut case politicians under control. One his ministers literally presented a powerpoint show about creating an artificial cal island off the coast for the Palestinians to move to. Sort of concentration camp meets Al Catraz

    • dexter m says:

      With some of the current Israeli politicians , Israel does not need enemies . Now that some of the emergency regulations have been relaxed , the fractures in Israeli society are getting more pronounced. After the 73 war Israel went from dominant Labor Zionism to dominant Revisionist Zionism , do we get dominant Religious Zionism after this war.

  • Moruti Ledwaba says:

    Thank you Penny Phillips. The US is not an island on its own. Geopolitics dictates that the US has interests to safeguard and protect. I am baffled and surprised when certain commentators seem to advance the view that relations between/amongst countries is one sided. Sure there are countries which are powerful politically and economically, but even these countries rely on others to advance their interests. Its very shortsighted to claim that the US can just punish SA willy-nilly. Of course it can, but it will lose big time in many areas

  • John P says:

    A real diplomatic win for SA now would be to follow up and use their friendship with Hamas to negotiate release of the hostages and the Palestinian detainees.

  • Dietmar Horn says:

    Thank you Peter Fabricius for your repeatedly demonstrated excellent journalistic work: well-researched, fact-based and unbiased, examining the topic from the different perspectives of the actors. In short, you have also reproduced the ICJ’s judgment in full. In this way, interested readers can be encouraged to think and act independently. Unfortunately, I miss this journalistic professionalism in some of your colleagues at DM. As long as personalities like you exercise journalistic freedom responsibly, I still have hope for this country. In some of your colleagues’ articles, however, I see a premature obedience to a government that is in the same boat as the regimes in Russia, China, Iran and Turkey, to name just a few. One only has to look at these countries to know how journalists in this country will fare if the current government succeeds in completing its clearly desired system change.

  • Different reasoning and expectations apply when sub-Saharan Africa is concerned, so the probability of SA being disqualified (from AGOA) is very low.

  • J vN says:

    Don’t worry, I’m sure the ANC’s new funder, Iran, will step in and invest billions in free trade with SA, after SA’s humiliating defeat at the ICJ.

  • Mo Sheikh says:

    it makes sense that if you go against your biggest trading partners and then lose the disingenuous court case, there will be consequences. SA has lost the case (no ceasefire), lost America and her allies and will now have to face the consequences of this mistake. This will include job losses, disinvestment, more poverty, possibly sanctions for connections to the Hamas terrorists. This government is like an abusive parent to the citizens of South Africa.

  • C Moola says:

    Well, it’s kinda simple. We don’t tell the USA who to be friends with, and they should do the same. It’s exactly what Madiba told the Clinton Administration. Where it becomes complex is that international relations is a dance nuanced by optics, multilateralism, bilateralism, national interest, geopolitics. All countries tango around these issues as they balance national interests. And South Africa is of strategic interest to the USA. They’re not dropping us any time soon. They’re probably working harder to keep our friendship than anyone assumes.

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      Well said others even disgustingly talk about a relationship with Israel.
      Charity begins at home, no relationship with Palestinians shows monsters who deserve to be friends with themselves.
      Their marriage with America is perfect they deserve each other.
      The global south is willing to do business with Africa on African terms, why do business at gunpoint with western Europe.

      • Ben Harper says:

        So where is this elusive trade the so-called “Global South” speaks of? How long has BRICS been going now? 2009 it started and SA joined in 2010, so how come 14 years later SA sees very little of that trade you claim exists

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      They pay us very handsomely so that they can tell us who to be friends with. We enter into those transactions, e.g. AGOA, quite willingly but then don’t deliver. We behave like an entitled millenials who has never experienced a real world consequence in the world stage. That’s on us, not them.

  • JP K says:

    So… in case it wasn’t obvious already, this makes it very clear that we don’t have a rules based order. Strategic interests matter more than the law. All countries are equal, but some are more equal than others.

    Thus SA may be punished for doing what the genocide act obligates all signatories to do – namely prevent and not commit genocide. You, know basic humanitarian stuff. And, to be clear, the court found that there was a plausible case for genocide being committed by Israel which needs to be investigated.

  • John P says:

    The list of countries currently eligible to be part of the Agoa initiative does not exactly read like a list of the USA’s friends so we will be in good company there.
    Part of the requirements are the rule of law, political pluralism, and the right to due process. Additionally, countries must eliminate barriers to U.S. trade and investment, enact policies to reduce poverty, combat corruption, and protect human rights.
    I see many problems for SA right there.

  • KEVIN COX says:

    The article and the vast majority of the comments are disturbingly cynical. It seems that it doesn’t matter that Israel has purposely killed 25,000 people – and there is plenty of evidence that that was the intention. The important things rather are, first, not to offend the West and particularly the US; second, anything to hammer the ANC with. Yes, the ANC is a corrupt organization. But does that mean that it has no remaining ideals? And that it has no historic memory, not least of Israel’s support for the apartheid regime? It seems that one is allowed to disregard the immoral so long as the material interests of SA are satisfied. What a world.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    “There is a hope because SA is close to Hamas it will have influence with it “. No. SA was played by Iran to its dirty work and save Hamas with a cease fire. Now that its not going to happen Hamas will have no need for for SA.

    • John P says:

      Complete assumption with zero proof

      • Middle aged Mike says:

        A very reasonable deduction given their 3o year history of selling themselves to all and sundry for shiny baubles and election funding. It’s just a matter of time before the proof of the iranian cashflows lands just as the gupta leaks did. The anc are far too gormless to have done it without leaving their sticky fingerprints everywhere.

  • After reading all these comments its a clear indication that most people here think that scare tactics and intimidation is the way to go. Being narrow minded and still thinking the USA is a super power. With a global free trade economy we don’t need to trade with the USA using the $ options are available. The fear mongering going on here is an indication of a weak mentality and a fear of the future. Times have changed and the trade of natural resources is on. America does not have an advantage and therefore will us any way including using internal agent to confuse and threaten a local population. The future is bright for South Africa and they want it. In the next couple of years or so we as a nation will be threatened, and like Theresa May we should let them dance for their food here as they made us do in the past.

    • Lu Nqg says:

      The people here are typical anti-South Africans.

      They have no loyalty to South Africa.
      If they had the skills to be useful in this world, and not the pathetic failures in life they are, they would’ve long ago left South Africa.

      Personally, AGOA ending would make it easier to finally take a stand against the West.
      We’d take them to court to our heart’s content and just focus on Africa, and the rest of the Global South.

    • Ben Harper says:

      So where is this free trade? Why are none of our BRICS buddies doing the volume and value of trade that the US and Western trade partners are? This drivel of “we don’t need them the world wants us” is naïve and insane. Here’s a cold hard fact for you – the world doesn’t need us as much as you think, if they wanted to take all our goodies thee would be no need for initiatives such as AGOA. We need the trade relations with the West far more than the basket cases the BRICS Brotherhood

  • Yacob Weir says:

    So it has begun

  • alfie says:

    which way the wind blows

  • Sewis M says:

    Every country in the world has a right to defend itself. Weather right or wrong in the Israel- Hamas situation, cancellation of any import/export contracts to and from South Africa will (not might) put SA in poverty. And I include the whole population. The following are examples. Must mention at first. My background is being a supplier of automotive components for all mayor OEM’S across the globe. What if the German, Japanese and US based OEM’S decide to withdraw from SA?? It will have a devastating effect on our economy’s, The chaine reaction downwards will result in KZN, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and others, becoming ghosts Provinces. Let’s us hope and pray the South Africa after the election, takes stock of all these realities.

  • Dietmar Horn says:

    Thank you Peter Fabricius for your repeatedly demonstrated excellent
    journalistic work: well-researched, fact-based and unbiased, examining
    the topic from the different perspectives of the actors. In short, you have also reproduced the ICJ’s judgment in full. In this way, interested readers can be encouraged to think and act independently. As long as personalities like you exercise
    journalistic freedom responsibly, I still have hope for this country. One only has to look at countries like Russia, China, Iran and Turkey to know how journalists in this country will fare if the current government can move forward to transform South Africa along the lines of these countries.

  • President Ramaphosa and his cronies have shown very clearly that they do not support the interests of the majority of the citizens of South Africa and therefore are illegitimate and must immediately stand down and make room for young educated and dynamic members of the ANC to take over. I say this as a 71 year old, long standing paid up member of the ANC

  • Ephraim Mafuwane says:

    All we did was to allege that Israel is committing a genocide. We went to court as an applicant and Israel defended. That’s what the they told us is democracy. We did not call for war or such we alleged and went to court and the court partially agreed. Now they hold the AGOA thing over our heads. Look do what you have to do and we do what we have to, is all good. One is to call for the dissolution of the ICJ and the ICC and reject all past sentences. The only ones who can be hauled to the ICJ and ICC are Africans and Latin America. After that, call for the scrapping of the Security Council which they wont agree to. Officially walk out out of the UN. We have President Khama, he wants to go home, a regime change in Botswana is appetising, such regime will have one mandate end the sitiuationship they have with Botswana. All this nonsense for what? For alleging that Israeli is committing a genocide which your court has partially agreed? Take us out of AGOA and let the games begin

  • Robby Kgomo says:

    This case will go a long way in ensuring that a two states solution is ultimately realized. It also reaffirms that in any conflict, collective punishment is not tolerated.

  • Nxumalosiyabonga120 says:

    Not all Palestinians are Hamas. There are young children and infants who are dying without knowing why they are being killed. Israel, a military super power, must have targeted operations to deal with Hamas, not to kill children and women. That is what SA and the common world stands for.

    • John P says:

      And that is exactly the point. If Israel was conducting a targeted operation instead of a massacre motivated by revenge there would have been no need for the ICJ action.

  • Iam enjoying reading comments keep it up guys I need more comments. ONE thing please reduce emotions!!

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