Israel’s Foreign Ministry is attempting to thwart the court proceedings by persuading foreign diplomats and politicians to issue public statements in support of the occupying force.
Aharon Barak, the former President of Israel’s Supreme Court, has been appointed to represent Israel at the landmark genocide trial against the occupying forces initiated by South Africa.
According to Israeli reports on Monday, Barak will be part of a 15-person panel of judges to deliberate over the case at The Hague’s International Court of Justice.
In a communique published via X on Wednesday, the ICJ, otherwise known as the United Nations’ World Court, said that proceedings are set to begin on January 11.
Thursday has been allocated for South Africa to present its case against Israel for its acts and omissions that have violated the UN’s Genocide Convention.
While January 12 will see Israel attempt to contest South Africa’s charges.
South Africa’s indictment has shaken Israel’s military, who fear a court injunction may force a halt in its demolition of Gaza.
Israel’s demolition offensive of the besieged enclave has seen the immense crippling of its infrastructure.
According to a flash update published on Sunday by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, since October 7, Israel’s indiscriminate shelling has reduced the number of operational hospitals in Gaza from 36 to just 13.
At least 65,000 homes across Gaza have also been destroyed, or rendered uninhabitable, by Israel and a further 290,000 have sustained damage, UN OCHA added.
Israel’s desperate attempt to evade justice
In a desperate bid to thwart the due process of the upcoming ICJ proceedings, reports have emerged from Axios that Israel has launched a “strategic goal” to throw the case into disarray.
On January 5, Axios blew the whistle on an Israeli Foreign Ministry cable that outlined a campaign “to create international pressure on the court to not issue an injunction that orders Israel to suspend its military campaign in Gaza”.
In the confidential cable intercepted by Axios, Israel’s Foreign Ministry attempted to persuade foreign diplomats and politicians that no genocide has been committed.
“We ask for an immediate and unequivocal public statement along the following lines: To publicly and clearly state that YOUR COUNTRY rejects the outrageous, absurd and baseless allegations made against Israel,” the cable reportedly read.
According to Axios, Israel is pressing to obtain as many such supportive statements it can before the ICJ trial begins on Thursday.
The world reacts
On January 4, Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi, affirmed his nation’s support for South Africa’s petition against Israel.
In addition to standing with South Africa, Middle East Monitor reported that Jordan was preparing a follow-up case in tandem with 43 Arab and Islamic countries to hold Israel to account for its genocidal crimes against Palestinians.
“One of the decisions of the joint Arab-Islamic summit was to assign the general secretariats of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to prepare legal files, and we are now working on formulating a joint effort to follow up on this file,” he said.
Meanwhile, Israel’s staunchest ally, the United States, dismissed South Africa’s petition as “baseless”.
During a January 3 press briefing at the White House, the US Coordinator for Strategic Communications, John Kirby, said South Africa’s allegations against Israel were “meritless, counterproductive, and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever”.
However, citing the latest estimates from Palestine’s Health Ministry, UN OCHA said that in just three months, Israel has killed at least 22,835 Palestinians in the Strip.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party has also reportedly discussed establishing a committee to facilitate the so-called “voluntary migration” of Palestinians out of their land. Such action, if forcibly actioned, could amount to a war crime.