Ignore Israel’s spin: ICJ HAS ordered a ceasefire – and much more than a ceasefire

Jan 27, 2024
The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the UN, deliver its Order on the Request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by South Africa in the case concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v. Israel), on 26 January 2024, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court. Session held under the presidency of Judge Joan E. Donoghue, President of the Court. The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized UN organs and agencies. Its official languages are English and French. Image:ICJ

Desperate damage control by genocidal regime can’t hide the facts – the ICJ has gone well beyond a mere ceasefire: Israel has been ordered to protect Palestinians in Gaza, not just stop shooting at them.

In the wake of the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) historic verdict that officially put Israel on trial for genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza, Israel’s spin doctors, apologists and mouthpieces have desperately been trying to spin the court’s crushing judgment as some kind of victory on the basis that the ICJ did not ‘order a ceasefire’.

Unfortunately, some supporters of Palestine have fallen into the trap – but in fact, the ICJ went way beyond merely ordering a ceasefire. As the president of the court announced, Israel has not just been ordered to stop shooting at and bombing Palestinians.

It has been explicitly ordered to protect them by preventing anyone killing them, inflicting psychological harm on them, preventing reproduction or any other means:

(Ruling view from 38:40)

A ceasefire is an agreement to cease hostilities between two countries engaged in a war – in a genocide, the murderous party is ordered to stop the genocide, but the court went further and told Israel it must prevent the killing of Palestinians, as well as pursue any who try to do so and to ensure evidence of such war crimes is not destroyed, as Israel has routinely been doing.

Craig Mokhiber, who resigned as a UN genocide expert last autumn because the UN was failing to prevent Israel’s ‘textbook genocide’ against the people of Gaza, agreed in an interview on Friday night:

Of course Israel will ignore the ruling and the orders that come with it – decades of impunity have instilled such an arrogant sense of entitlement in Israeli politicians that they will flout the ruling. But – vitally – Israel’s backers and enablers are now explicitly breaking international law every single time they provide materials, funding or practical assistance, or political cover, for Israel’s mass murder. And in a month, Israel has to come back to the court and detail its compliance or lack of compliance with the court’s order.

And every country that wishes to uphold international law will be able, and even obliged, to use their own jurisdiction – granted to them by the ruling – to issue warrants for the arrest of anyone committing or complicit in the genocide, in addition to the vast political damage those complicit, criminal regimes will be doing to themselves.

And the UN General Assembly, if Israel and its backers flout the ruling, will be entitled to remove Israel from the UN community of nations and even to refuse to recognise Israeli passports, as was done to apartheid South Africa.

The extent to which this damages Israel and its international standing can be seen in the outraged, petty, desperate and clearly coordinated reaction of its mouthpieces.

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