Gaza: South Africa speaks for the world

Gaza: South Africa speaks for the world

By: Nick Dearden
Date: 12 January 2024
Campaigns: General

Yesterday South Africa took a most powerful act of international solidarity. In the face of the most grotesque military campaign in Gaza, South Africa is accusing Israel of genocide. Their case is backed by many countries across the global south – and indeed reflects public opinion in the global north too.

The scale of destruction in Gaza, the targeting of family homes and civilians, the war being a war on children, all make clear that genocidal intent is both understood and has been put into practice. The articulated intent is the destruction of Palestinian life… The distinctive feature of this case [has been] the reiteration and repetition of genocidal speech throughout every sphere of the state in Israel.”

South Africa’s case come after months of the most obscene Western hypocrisy. Despite daily massacres, week after week, our own politicians are nearly silent. So not only can we see what’s happening on social media in real time, but our own government is complicit in these brutal war crimes. Their diplomatic backing gives Israel the green light to keep going, and British-made weapons help make it possible.

As one of South Africa’s lawyers told the Court today, “Hundreds of multigenerational families have been wiped out… This killing is inflicted deliberately. No one is spared. Not even new born babies… The devastation is intended to lay waste to Gaza.”

Whatever happens now, hearing this truth spoken in an international court should give us all energy to keep pushing for a ceasefire, and wider justice. Without action, the situation will continue to get worse. Famine and widespread disease are now on the horizon. And the violence is now spreading beyond Gaza with the whole region becoming drawn in.

We must do everything we can to stop the UK giving its backing to this ongoing atrocity, and show the government that they will not wear us down. Here are three ways you can help:

1. Join the demo on Saturday

Join this Saturday’s latest national demonstration in London, to demand a ceasefire and an end to the war on Gaza. The march assembles at 12 noon at Bank and will go through central London.

2. Watch the court case

Watch South Africa’s lawyer present their case to the International Court of Justice today:

3. Write to your MP

Tell the UK to support South Africa’s case by writing to your MP (via the Palestine Solidarity Campaign website)

Addressing the court today, South Africa’s Justice Minister quoted Martin Luther King, saying “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” In these awful times, we all need to take King’s words to heart. However hard it seems, things will change. It’s up to us to decide how. South Africa lit a candle for us. Let’s do what we can to support them.

Read more:

South Africa tells the UN top court Israel is committing genocide in Gaza as a landmark case begins, AP News, 11 January 20242.

South Africa presents its case against Israel at the ICJ, SABC News, 11 January 20243.

ICJ case against Israel could finally empower the genocide convention, Guardian, 11 January 20244.

Opinion poll shows overwhelming British public support for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, Medical Aid for Palestinians, 10 January 2024

Photo: Alisdare Hickson/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)