More than 30000 Palestinians, including civilian women and children, have been killed by Israel since October 7, 2023, in Gaza. According to estimates, Israeli forces kill one child every 10 minutes and almost all the population of Gaza has become homeless. Israel is bombing refugee camps, mosques, churches, and hospitals with impunity. People in Gaza are facing a triangle of death as famine, drought, and war have attacked them simultaneously. Israel is hindering all the food supplies into the Gaza enclave. However, despite such war crimes by Israel, the international community and institutions have failed to cease this genocide.
Although Hamas’ October 7 attacks have provided Israel an excuse to commit this brutal massacre in Gaza, many believe that the latter has some covert plans behind this ethnic cleansing in the enclave. Many analysts believe that Israel’s plan of building the Ben Gurion canal and occupying the gas reserves of Gaza is the main rationale behind its indiscriminate war and killings in the region. The United States and many Western nations are supporting Israel in this war. This encourages Israel to kill civilians, including minors and women, with impunity. The United States has even vetoed the UN resolution calling for a humanitarian truce in Gaza.
Ironically, the Arab states have turned a blind eye to the plight of the people of Gaza. It seems that the Arab world, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, has prioritized financial gains over the blood of innocent Palestinian Muslims. Amidst this situation, it was not any Muslim or Arab state but South Africa that took up the case of Israel’s genocide in the International Court of Justice. Ostensibly, this criminal silence of the Arab and Muslim nations has motivated Israel to conduct military operations in Syria, Lebanon, and other neighboring countries. Reports reveal that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has planned to thin out the Palestinian population in Gaza by pushing the Muslim people into the sea. Israel has ignored the UN resolution, calling for a ceasefire, passed by 150 nations of the world. It has demanded the resignation of the Secretary General of the United Nations for his brave remarks against the war crime of Israel.
Amidst all this, South Africa, not any Muslim or Arab state, has emerged as the sole country in the world to take the case of genocide by Israel’s military in Gaza. Many of the Muslim states are even inclined to support this case filed by South Africa on 29th December 2023. The latter has sought measures against Israel for breaching the 1948 Genocide Convention. South Africa also seeks the suspension of military invasion in Gaza by Israeli forces.
The charge sheet submitted by South Africa against the Israeli war crimes expands to 84 pages. This charge sheet holds that “Israel has reduced and is continuing to reduce Gaza to rubble, killing, harming and destroying its people, and creating conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction as a group.” Furthermore, the charge sheet reads that “Repeated statements by Israeli State representatives, including at the highest levels, by the Israeli President, Prime Minister, and Minister of Defence express genocidal intent. That intent is also properly to be inferred from the nature and conduct of Israel’s military operation in Gaza, having regard inter alia to Israel’s failure to provide or ensure essential food, water, medicine, fuel, shelter, and other humanitarian assistance for the besieged and blockaded Palestinian people, which has pushed them to the brink of famine.”
Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, has compared Israel’s apartheid and genocidal policies against the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza to the apartheid regime imposed in his country by white men in the past. Numerous human rights organizations have also considered Israeli policies and operations in Gaza tantamount to genocide. Moreover, several countries, including Syria, Algeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Brazil, Bolivia, Cuba, Colombia, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Türkiye, Honduras, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Namibia, and Malaysia, have also endorsed this notion. However, it still remains unclear that all of them would become a party in this case against Israel. Pakistan, Türkiye, Malaysia, and Jordan have recently declared to support this case filed by South Africa as of this writing. Reportedly, the Jordanian government has also announced the preparation of a similar case against Israel.
Although Muslims around the world expected serious action by Saudi Arabia, the latter’s criminal silence has perturbed the Muslim population around the world. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was also among some of the Muslim countries that opposed any punitive measures against Israel in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Moreover, the UAE and some other Arab countries have established cordial ties with Israel and are hesitant to lose their partnership with Israel, given the latter’s technological advancement. Although Yemen and some regional defense organizations are resisting Israeli oppression in the region, the criminal silence by major Arab nations can encourage Israel to expand its military operations beyond the Middle Eastern region. South Africa’s case in the United Nations will also result in mobilizing people around the world, especially in Muslim countries, forcing their governments to stand with the people of Gaza and oppose Israel. The pursuit of liberal policies by the Saudi government and its blind eye towards the plight of Gazans can weaken the government internally, in the long run, as it could lead to agitation among the people of the country.
Abbas Hashemite – is a political observer and research analyst for regional and global geopolitical issues. He is currently working as an independent researcher and journalist, exclusively for “New Eastern Outlook”.