Well the decision of the ICJ is now out. It is better than I had hoped for but my prediction that the Court would balk at taking the decisive step of ordering Israel to desist by issuing an injunction has proven correct.
The decisiveness of the 15-2 majorities surprised me. On one vote even Israel’s Aharon Barak voted with the majority yet Uganda’s vile Christian Judge Julia Sebutinde voted against anything that might relieve the present catastrophic situation.
But at the end of the day Israel has said it doesn’t accept the vote and the United States, its main backer has said nothing. Western talk of human rights is now shown to be a sham.
In accepting that there is a ‘plausible’case for genocide this is clearly a victory for South Africa and the Palestinians. It is just a pity that they judges of the ICJ didn’t have the courage of their convictions.
ICJ: Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh’s powerful closing statement in South Africa case against Israel
Today is the day that the International Court of Justice makes its decision. I hesitate to speculate as to what the decision might be. Will they issue an interim injunction to Israel to desist from its genocidal activities or will it end up with a fudge or compromise instructing Israel to protect the civilian population and take more care. In which case Israel will proclaim that they are already doing that.
I hesitate to make a prediction but nonetheless I will. The Court has come under an immense amount of political pressure. The United States has already said that the case that South Africa has brought to be ‘“meritless, counterproductive, and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever.”. The UK under Sunak has played its traditional role, which is one of being America’s faithful lapdog and Keir Starmer has played his normal role of follow my leader.
There is no doubt that if the decision were made on purely legal grounds then South Africa would win hands down. That is the opinion of international law experts. However this is not a court that bases its decisions on legality. It is a political court and its judges are political appointees.
Therefore, although I would love the court to come to a clear-cut decision instructing Israel to stop its genocidal attacks my fear is that the court will fudge the decision and engage in meaningless soundbites. It will criticize Israel without having the courage to issue an injunction instructing it to stop the genocide that is taking place.
Children About To Be Shot
I sincerely hope that I am wrong but I fear otherwise. Israel has already made it crystal clear that it will defy an injunction to stop committing genocide. That means a decision instructing it to desist from further military activities it will go to the Security Council for enforcement.
The United States will then veto the resolution and under the Uniting for Peace resolution 377 (V) it will then go to the General Assembly. It is anyone’s guess what could happen then but theoretically the General Assembly could suspend Israel’s membership of the United Nations. If Israel was suspended it is likely that the United States would walk out and the British poodle could follow them.
This scenario must be playing on the minds of the ICJ which is why I don’t believe that they will deliver the verdict that most people want. No one doubts that legally South Africa has clearly met the test of showing intent on Israel’s part to commit genocide. Indeed it is already doing just that and its spokespersons, from the President and Prime Minister down have made their genocidal intentions clear to all.
No one doubts that Irish lawyer Blinne Ni Ghralaigh made a devastating closing speech. If it was simply about the case that South Africa made then it would win hands down but my fear is that this court will allow political considerations to intervene.
Murder of Man With White Flag
If however the ICJ does do as I predict then that will be seen as the death of international human rights law. If the highest court in the world cannot implement the law when there is such an egregious example of genocide taking place under its very eyes, then international law is meaningless.
The other question I have posed is how October 7th will come to be seen in years to come. Again I hesitate to make predictions but I am convinced that we are seeing the beginning of the end of Zionism.
Zionism was always an unnatural political creature and Israel even more so. Israel, even its Jewish part, has never been able to decide what its identity was. Was it Jewish first or Israeli first? This is a question on which Israeli Jews themselves are split.
International Court of Justice
October 7 has also made ‘normalisation’ between the treacherous and corrupt Arab regimes and Israel that much harder though one cannot put it past creatures such as Saudi Arabia’s MBS to plough on nonetheless.
However the rise of the Houthis and Hezbollah coupled with the fierce resistance of Hamas and the other militias in Gaza has destroyed the myth of invincibility that the Israeli state likes to cloak itself with. Israel may be a nuclear power but despite the wishes of certain far right Israeli ministers it is unlikely to want to create a radioactive desert in the Middle East.
It is just possible that Israel pre-1967 could have turned into a normal bourgeois state, albeit one with repressive and authoritarian tendencies. After 1967 and the conquering of the territories with the growth of what Yeshayahu Leibowitz called the Judeo-Nazis this became impossible.
Today we see the far right settler parties driving Israel’s political agenda and we saw, pre-October 7 the massive demonstrations in Israel over the judicial reforms. What October 7 postponed will not go away. We are seeing the symptoms of those divisions in the growing political crisis in Israel over the hostages as it becomes clear that Netanyahu, Smotrich and Ben Gvir wish to pursue their war aims regardless of its effect on the hostages.
Given the choice between killing Palestinians and saving the hostages Netanyahu and co. unhesitatingly choose the former.
The relatives of the hostages though are becoming more and more desperate as they know that the longer the war goes on, the more of them will die. These divisions roughly correspond with the divisions over the judicial reforms.
The current government has effectively declared war on the Palestinians, not only in Gaza but the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority is barely able to survive as the Israeli government ignores this Vichy style administration that the Oslo Accords gave birth to. It is doubtful that this bastard child of Oslo will long survive.
Ever since July the war on Jenin in particular, but also Nablus and Tulkarem has gone on. I am told that there hasn’t been one peaceful night in Jenin since July. I know because I fundraise for the Al Tafawk Children’s Centre there.
There is now a war between the settlers, armed by Ben Gvir and the Palestinians. A war whose purpose is ethnic cleansing.
I once asked myself if there is anything that Israel could do which the United States would sanction it for. The answer that I have drawn is no. Whatever protestations made by Biden and Blinken they continue to arm Israel.
The key question that is posed today is how to get rid of the ‘Jewish’ settler-colonial state, a state of Jewish supremacy and Apartheid. War with Lebanon seems increasingly likely and if that happens the conflagration is likely to spread to Iraq and Iran. The whole region is slipping inexorably into war.
The Houthis have shown the way but others in the region are not far behind. The Abraham Accords have been show to be built on sand.
The reality is that if the repressive and rotten Arab regimes had taken a leaf out of the Houthis book and embargoed the oil, as they did in 1973, then the United States would have stopped the genocide in its tracks.
Above all the question of Zionism and its demise is integrally liked with the death of the Arab regimes, especially Egypt and Saudi Arabia.