South Africa Urgently Requests More Sanctions Against Israel From the World Court

( – It’s been more than five months since Hamas attacked Israel, setting off a war between the two. There have been numerous calls for a ceasefire so that humanitarian aid can reach the millions of Palestinians who have been displaced in Gaza throughout the conflict. There has been no success on that front, so one country has decided to take matters even further—to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

South Africa’s Requests

Last December, two months into the conflict, South Africa asked the ICJ to take on a case, accusing Israel of committing atrocities against Palestinians in violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Such a ruling could take years to come down, even if the war ends in the interim. On January 26, while considering the case, the court ordered the Jewish state to take the necessary steps to end the atrocities immediately. The country was ordered to get basic necessities to Gaza and submit a report to the court on how it was taking steps to abide by the ruling.

Then, South Africa reached out to the court again in January. Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor alleged that Israel ignored the ICJ’s ruling when it killed hundreds of civilians in a matter of mere days. She said the situation is similar to the mass genocide in Rwanda, when more than 800,000 people died in 1994, and she hopes it will spark a larger conversation, perhaps one involving the United Nations.

In February, the country’s government asked the ICJ to examine the deaths in Rafah, where Israeli forces centralized their attacks and intended to launch a ground offensive in addition to air strikes. Officials said it was “the last refuge for surviving people in Gaza,” per The Associated Press.

Most Recent Action

Following on the heels of Israel purportedly failing to abide by the ruling, South Africa once again contacted the ICJ, this time asking it to implement more measures against Israel. Namely, the country wants the court to order both sides to cease hostilities and release detainees and hostages, citing the risk of Palestinians starving.

Officials also asked the court to demand Israel take “immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address famine and starvation” Palestinians are currently experiencing. They’re asking the court to bypass the normal hearing process due to the dire circumstances.

Should the court adopt the provision, it would demand that Israel immediately suspend its operations in Gaza and provide necessary aid and services to Palestinians.

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