Cape Town – The South African government has applied to take Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over its attacks on Palestinians in Gaza.
In a statement, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), said that the application against Israel was submitted on Friday.
“Israel, since 7 October 2023 in particular, has failed to prevent genocide and has failed to prosecute the direct and public incitement to genocide,” DIRCO said, according to Reuters.
A different court in The Hague, the International Criminal Court (ICC), is separately investigating alleged atrocities in Gaza and the West Bank, but has not named any suspects. Israel is not a member of the ICC and rejects its jurisdiction, the report said.
While Hamas welcomed this move, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) criticises the government for including a meeting with them in its case, Times Live reported.
The SAJBD asserted that the government misrepresented the purpose of the meeting, expressing concerns about rising anti-Semitism in South Africa and the lack of consular services for South African citizens in Israel.
“The SAJBD made it clear that we are not the representatives of the state of Israel nor go-betweens of the two countries. We are South African citizens like any other, with valid concerns about our human rights as citizens of this country. That the South African legal case against Israel twisted the meeting in this way, shows the depths to which the government will sink in doing the bidding of its friends Hamas,” the report quoted SAJBD national chair Karen Milner as saying.
The SAJBD accuses the government of distorting the meeting to align with the interests of Hamas.
Meanwhile, Hamas appreciates South Africa’s action, considering it a significant step toward holding Israel accountable for what they describe as “worst atrocities in contemporary history”.
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Compiled by Betha Madhomu