There are caveats, including the absence of a ceasefire order. But the IJC ruling will give a tailwind to international calls for trade sanctions and arms boycotts against Israel
26 January 2024
There are two main takeaways from the International Court of Justice’s decision on Friday ordering provisional measures against Israel on the basis of South Africa’s genocide allegations against it.
The first, and the most crucial, is that through the nature of the orders and the language it used, it could be cautiously said that the court does not appear to think that Israel is currently and actively committing genocide against the Palestinians.
Had that been the case, the court would surely have acceded to South Africa’s demand that Israel immediately and unilaterally halt its military operation in Gaza. And it would have also used the word “desist” in its order, as was explicitly used by South Africa in its application against Israel, implying current and likely future genocidal activity.
At the same time, the court nevertheless accepted the highly damaging allegation that there is “plausibility” to South Africa’s claims that the Palestinians in Gaza need protecting from genocide, and indeed did so in an overwhelming 15 to 2 decision.
This step indicates that the court does not believe South Africa’s incendiary allegations are entirely unfounded, a determination which Hamas, South Africa and Israel’s enemies broadly celebrated in the immediate aftermath of the decision.
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