African National Congress (ANC) government in South Africa files legal complaint against Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
Former Republic of South Africa President Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) said during his lifetime that the people of his country would not be free until Palestine was liberated.
Mandela, who spent over 27 years in the dungeons of the apartheid prison system, made his transition a decade ago amid accolades and tributes from people throughout the world.
The African National Congress (ANC), the oldest liberation movement turned political party on the continent, is a longtime ally of the Palestinian people. Both the ANC and the resistance movements representing the Palestinians, viewed the plight of South Africans as quite similar to the indigenous people now dominated by the State of Israel.
Since October 7, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has reported that more than 22,000 people have been killed as a result of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) bombings, shellings and ground offensive. The Gaza Strip has been subjected to a complete blockade where food, medicines and all essential supplies are being prevented from entering the area which is the most densely populated in the world.
Most of the housing in Gaza has been destroyed by IDF actions. The majority of hospitals have been bombed, raided and made inoperable. Palestinian physicians and other healthcare workers have been detained, interrogated and tortured by the IDF. Women and children are being systematically murdered while the United States administration of President Joe Biden has sent thousands of tons of weapons to Tel Aviv while vetoing and voting against all ceasefire resolutions put before the United Nations.
Not one person living in Gaza can be considered safe. The IDF has bombed and raided residential neighborhoods, mosques, churches, schools, healthcare facilities, refugee camps and businesses. Under such circumstances, the entire population of 2.3 million are in fact displaced.
Within this historical and contemporary context, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa along with his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Naledi Pandor, have been leading voices in the international community condemning the atrocities being committed in Gaza and charactering the policy of Tel Aviv as genocidal. This strident foreign policy in defense of the Palestinians has been translated into legal action by the ANC government which has filed a lawsuit in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), a United Nations affiliated body which adjudicates issues involving global affairs.
A press release issued by the ICJ in response to the complaint filed on December 29, says:
“South Africa today filed an application instituting proceedings against Israel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, concerning alleged violations by Israel of its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the ‘Genocide Convention’) in relation to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. According to the Application, ‘acts and omissions by Israel . . . are genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent . . . to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group’ and that ‘the conduct of Israel — through its State organs, State agents, and other persons and entities acting on its instructions or under its direction, control or influence — in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, is in violation of its obligations under the Genocide Convention’. The Applicant further states that ‘Israel, since 7 October 2023 in particular, has failed to prevent genocide and has failed to prosecute the direct and public incitement to genocide’ and that ‘Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza’. South Africa seeks to found the Court’s jurisdiction on Article 36, paragraph 1, of the Statute of the Court and on Article IX of the Genocide Convention, to which both South Africa and Israel are parties.” (https://www.un.org/unispal/document/icj-southafrica-israel-genocide-29dec2023/)
The Zionist regime in Tel Aviv has rejected the claims by South Africa and declares it will represent itself before the ICJ in the Hague, Kingdom of the Netherlands. Although the Genocide Convention of the United Nations was drafted and adopted in the aftermath of World War II, today Israel refuses to accept that its own actions are clearly designed to exterminate the Palestinians.
At the same time, the main supporter and coordinator of Israeli political and military policies, the U.S. imperialist government, has also sided with Tel Aviv stating arrogantly that the South African lawsuit has no merit. Such an attitude is reflective of the racist character of U.S. foreign policy in Southern Africa and West Asia.
Al Mayadeen reported on January 3 that:
“State Department spokesman Matthew Miller expressed that the U.S. does not think South Africa’s actions are a ‘productive step,’ telling reporters that the administration has not seen ‘Acts that constitute genocide.’ While he admits that genocide was ‘heinous,’ Miller stated such allegations ‘should not be made lightly.’ During a briefing, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby called the case ‘meritless, counterproductive, and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever.’” (https://english.almayadeen.net/news/politics/us-denies-genocide-in-gaza–calls-s-africa-icj-case-unproduc)
The facts are to the contrary of what the White House is articulating. South Africa, based upon its own experience knows very well how to identify settler-colonialism and genocide. During the era of apartheid, successive U.S. administrations were on the side of the racists in Pretoria. Nelson Mandela was captured in 1962 by the racist apartheid regime with the assistance of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The U.S. has never agreed to apologize to the people of South Africa and the entire sub-continent for its decades-long collaboration and assistance to the system of white domination.
Targeted Assassinations Designed to Further Regionalize the War
A series of assassinations carried out by Israel and the U.S. are designed to strike fear and terror into the people of West Asia. A leading General within the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Sayyed Razi Mousavi, was killed in a drone attack in Syria on December 25.
This attack coincided with the fourth anniversary of the targeted killings in early January 2020 of IRGC General Qassam Soleimani and Deputy Commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahadi al-Muhandis, carried out under the former President Donald Trump’s administration near the Baghdad International Airport. Then on January 3 in Kerman, Iran, in the southeastern region of the country, two bomb attacks near the burial grounds of General Soleimani killed more than 100 people. (https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2024/01/03/717540/Condemnations-pour-in-following-Kerman-terror-attack)
On January 2, a deputy leader within the Hamas resistance movement, Sheikh Saleh al-Aruri, was killed in a drone attack while he attended a meeting with his comrades Samir Afandi (Abu ‘Amer) and Azzam al-Aqra’, Zaki Shahin, Mohammed al-Reis, Mohammed Bshasha and Ahmed Hamoudin in the Beirut south suburb of Dahiyeh. Neither the Israeli government nor the U.S. has claimed responsibility for the attack on al-Aruri and the other Hamas leaders.
These developments have not just been confined to Syria, Iran and Lebanon. The Pentagon reportedly killed ten members of the Yemen Defense Forces in the Red Sea while they were implementing a blockade against Israeli-controlled ports. The blockade is being conducted in solidarity with the people of Gaza. (https://www.military.com/daily-news/2023/12/31/us-forces-shoot-down-ballistic-missiles-red-sea-kill-gunmen-attack-yemens-houthi-rebels.html)
In Syria on the border with Iraq on December 30, the U.S. military killed six members of the resistance forces operating in the area. These groups have been launching missiles at U.S. bases in Iraq and northeastern Syria since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Storm on October 7. Pentagon troops remain in Iraq and Syria despite the objections of both governments.
In response to the Yemeni actions, the Pentagon has created a loosely knit imperialist naval task force known as Operation Prosperity Guardian. The stated aim of the military alliance is to ensure the shipping lanes stay open for trade with Israel.
Nonetheless, the situation remains dangerous for the commercial shipping vessels and others within the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb straits. Despite the U.S. presence, many shipping firms have suspended their usage of the waterways. Instead, they are taking the costly re-routing by traveling around East, Southern, Western and North Africa avoiding the Suez Canal.
Since the resistance forces of Yemen have engaged in the blockade, the price of commercial shipping along with oil have increased significantly. The deployment of aircraft carriers to the Red Sea threatens to draw Washington into deepening naval and ground war. These maneuvers are contributing to the militarist posture of the Biden administration.
The redeployment of naval vessels from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Red Sea along with the withdrawal of several large scale IDF units from Gaza indicates the shifting of military strategy in West Asia. However, there is no solution to the Palestinian question absent statehood combined with the removal of Pentagon forces from the region.