Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa has said in his weekly newsletter that criticism of Israeli military actions in Gaza should not be dismissed as anti-Semitism.
“Criticism of the atrocities committed by the Israeli military is not directed at any religious or ethnic group, and cannot simply be dismissed as antisemitism. Nor can our case before the ICJ be said to diminish the enormity of the Holocaust.
“On the contrary, it is the experience by humanity of the Holocaust and other acts of genocide that motivates our efforts to prevent anything of this nature from happening again,” Ramaphosa said.
He believes South Africa is on the right side of history by challenging Israel’s actions and sees it as the country’s duty, given its history of fighting apartheid, to stand up for justice and human rights.
“As a signatory to that convention, South Africa carries a responsibility, like other states that are signatory to the convention, to prevent acts of genocide wherever they occur. It was in fulfilment of this responsibility and to prevent further civilian deaths and destruction that South Africa took this case to the court,” said Ramaphosa.
As a nation that fought and defeated apartheid, we have a particular obligation to stand up for justice and fundamental human rights for all people, everywhere. It is this obligation that informed our application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to halt the violence… pic.twitter.com/syH6BvlJeL
— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 (@CyrilRamaphosa) January 29, 2024
The International Court of Justice on Friday found it plausible that Israel violated the Genocide Convention, and Ramaphosa emphasised South Africa’s consistent application of international law, condemning both Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas.
He argued that Hamas’ attack on Israeli civilians does not justify Israel’s three-month-long retaliation, calling it an assault on justice, human rights, and international law.
“The unprecedented onslaught against the people of the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military is an assault on all those who believe in justice, human rights and respect for international law,” Ramaphosa said.
Israel is now legally bound to prevent prohibited acts, including killing Palestinians, following the court order.
Ramaphosa clarified that South Africa’s stance is not meant to diminish the Holocaust but is motivated by the collective human experience of the Holocaust and other acts of genocide.
Israel must submit a report to the court on its compliance with the order next month.
Follow African Insider on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
For more African news, visit Africaninsider.com
Compiled by Betha Madhomu