Israel will face accusations at the UN’s top court on Thursday that it has committed genocidal acts in Gaza
The Arab League has affirmed its support for South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which begins today.
“It is natural and logical for the Arab League to fully support the lawsuit filed by South Africa against Israel before the International Court of Justice on charges of committing genocide,” the bloc’s Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said in an X post on Wednesday.
“We look forward to a just and bold ruling that will stop this aggressive war and put an end to the shedding of Palestinian blood,” he added.
The first two hearings in the case will take place on Thursday and Friday at the Netherlands-based court.
South Africa filed the lawsuit in late December, accusing Israel of genocide in its war on Gaza and seeking an end to the ongoing and relentless military assault that has claimed the lives of more than 23,000 Palestinians, nearly 10,000 of them children.
The leader of the regional bloc added: “I express gratitude to South Africa and its government for adopting this principled stance, prioritising morals and human values over any other considerations.
“We would have liked the bloc to be able to join the lawsuit, but as an organisation, it is not among the entities authorised to do so.”
South Africa submitted the 84-page application on December 29, coinciding with the 84th day of Israel’s ongoing bombardment of the besieged Strip.
The submission underscores the responsibility of all State Parties to the 1948 Convention to employ “all reasonable measures within their power to prevent genocide.”
South Africa is urging the Court to acknowledge that Israel has violated this obligation.
The 1948 Genocide Convention was drawn up in the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust.
Citing Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, it argues: “The acts and omissions by Israel… are genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial, and ethnic group.”
Israel and South Africa, as parties to the United Nations Genocide Convention, fall under the jurisdiction of the ICJ, the highest legal body within the UN, for resolving disputes related to the treaty.
Every state that has ratified the convention is obligated not only to refrain from committing genocide but also to take measures to prevent and punish it. The treaty specifically defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.”