South Africa submits urgent request to ICJ over Israel’s assault on Rafah

South Africa in a statement said that the Israel’s decision to extend operations could mean a further breach of rights of Palestinians.

The South African government has submitted an “urgent request” to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for an assessment of Israel’s expansion of its military operations in the city of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

South Africa cited section 1 of Article 75 of the Rules of Court, which says the court “may at any time decide to examine proprio motu whether the circumstances of the case require the indication of provisional measures which ought to be taken or complied with by any or all of the parties.”

In a statement, South Africa said on Tuesday, February 13, “Rafah, which is the last refuge for surviving people in Gaza, requires that the court uses its power to prevent further imminent breach of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza.”

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“South Africa was gravely concerned that the unprecedented military offensive against Rafah, as announced by the State of Israel, has already led to and will result in further large scale killing, harm and destruction.”

“This would be in serious and irreparable breach of the Genocide Convention and of the Court’s Order of January 26, 2024.” 

The statement added, “South Africa trusts this matter will receive the necessary urgency in light of the daily death toll in Gaza.”

On December 29, 2023, South Africa filed a complaint with the ICJ, saying that Israel was violating the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide signed in 1948 following the Holocaust during World War II.

On January 26, ICJ ordered Israel to take measures to prevent genocide in Gaza and direct incitement to it, as it rejected the Israeli request to dismiss the lawsuit brought by South Africa.

Despite ICJ resolutions urging Palestinians to stop attacks without a ceasefire, Israel continues its attacks on the Gaza Strip, ignoring steps to end the human tragedy.

US lawmakers intoduces bill to review South Africa relation over ICJ case

US congressmen John James and Jared Moskowitz on Sunday, February 11, proposed a bill for a comprehensive review of US-South Africa relations, accusing them of anti-semitic and anti-Israeli actions following Pretoria’s accusation of Gaza genocide.

The US-South Africa Bilateral Relations Review Act calls for a comprehensive evaluation of the US-South Africa relationship, considering South Africa’s recent strategic alliances with US adversaries.

“South Africa has been building ties to countries and actors that undermine America’s national security and threaten our way of life through its military and political cooperation with China and Russia and its support of US.-designated terrorist organization Hamas,” James said in a statement.

“Under this current administration, America has been put last, leaving our allies and partners beholden to dictators and despots in Beijing and Moscow for critical needs like energy.”

He added that to ensure the security of the US, “we must examine our alliances and disentangle from those who remain willing to work with our adversaries”.

The bill accuses South Africa of supporting Hamas since 1994, citing its history of accusing Israel of practicing apartheid, and accusing it of siding with “malign actors”.

The bill will be discussed by a lower house committee, released for voting, and if passed, it will proceed to the Senate for approval.

The bill requests US President Joe Biden and foreign affairs and defense secretaries to release a report within 30 days revealing South Africa’s involvement in activities threatening US national security and foreign interests.

The bill, if passed, would mandate Biden to submit a report on the review findings within 120 days.

Since October 7, 2023, Israel’s war on Gaza has resulted in 28,473 martyrs and 68,146 injured, with thousands missing.

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