18.01.2024 Author: Simon Chege Ndiritu

ICJ Ruling might not Solve anything and May Lead Back to the US Vetoes at the UNSC

ICJ Ruling might not Solve anything and May Lead Back to the US Vetoes at the UNSC


While South Africa’s effort to refer Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the latter’s possible contravention of the Genocide Convention is commendable, it may not lead to the desired relief. The ICJ concluded hearings for the genocide case, and as the world awaits the ruling, it is crucial to bear in mind that the court and its underlying system are unlikely to deliver Justice to Gazans. Restraining optimism in the process is crucial not only in preventing disappointment, but also in reserving mental energy to seek practical alternatives for sustainable peace and dignity for Palestinians and the region.

Israel’s actions Satisfies Article II of the Genocide Convention

The evidence presented by South Africa is compelling when read against Article II of the Genocide Convention, which defines genocide as entailing;

  • Killing members of the group,
  • Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
  • Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,

For (a), the media has reported that over 22,833 people (70% of them women and children) have been killed in 100 days, and, 70000 are missing. The missing are presumed killed but undiscovered under the rubble of collapsed buildings. One can expect the wounded to reach a hundred thousand, which satisfies part (b). For part (c), Israeli bombing has displaced 85% of Gaza’s population into camps, which it repeatedly bombs. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) leadership revealed that it prevented Gazans from accessing food, water, and electricity, terming them as ‘human animals’. Therefore, it has imposed conditions that make the place unlivable, and those living in blockaded Gaza face the risk of death from war, starvation, and diseases. Israel has also destroyed nearly all mosques and churches in an attempt to erase Palestinian identity.

While South Africa’s case illustrates that Israel has intent for genocide and has pursued that goal, the accused has shown open contempt for South Africa and the ICJ. It (Israel) ironically accused the black South African government of being apartheid. It also claimed that it has been defending itself from Palestinians, whom it drove out of their homes and into a regularly bombarded open-air prison, for the last 75 years. It (Israel) appeared unbothered, twisted facts, and even contradicted its leadership’s reference to Gazans as ‘human animals’. Its confidence is probably drawn from the realization of how phony these ‘international organizations’ are. As a Kenyan, I remember the ICC purporting to investigate the post-election violence of 2007/08 in which 1300 people died, but it has not seen the need to investigate the murder of 23000 Gazans killed in 100 days. Similarly, the ICC did not see the need to investigate the murder of 14000 Russian speakers in Donbas since 2014 but was quick to indict Putin for taking 6000 children to safety. The ICJ cannot be different as it is a UN arm and the US vetoes anything that does not advance its narrow-minded interests, including the elimination of Palestinians. It is not hard to imagine that the ICJ is likely compromised and will favor Israel’s patrons.

Ruling and then… UNSC? Isn’t that where we are from?

Even if the ICJ’s ruling is objective, it will be implemented through the UN General Assembly (UNGA) or the United Nations Security Council UNSC. In the past, enforcement of ICJ decisions has proven extremely difficult, as the court lacks enforcement mechanisms and will return us to the US vetoes in the (UNSC). This view is confirmed by Diala Shamas, A senior US lawyer quoted here, saying that ICJ granting measures sought by South Africa will make the US choose between international law and Israel. Washington has repeatedly chosen Israel in the past if I may remind everyone. Should the ICJ demand monitoring missions and aid delivery to Gaza, Israelis or the UNSC (again) will be tasked with securing and coordinating such and can easily decline or fake scenes of compliance. Israel has no incentive to stop its massacre or abide by the UN resolutions. It is likely to continue with its barbaric attacks, with the support of the two permanent UNSC members, the US and the UK.

Thou shall not stop Israeli Genocide; Making Yemen an Example

Any country that will try to take substantive action against Israel’s genocide will have to face the wrath of Washington and London, making a potential ICJ ruling more likely to gather dust on the shelves of ICJ and the UN. The US and UK have demonstrated a willingness to bomb countries trying to force Israel to abide by international law, and are currently bombing Yemen for this purpose. Note that Yemen had given Israel and its backers a reasonable condition, to lift a blockade on Gaza, but Israel’s benefactors chose to go to war rather than seeing Israel abide by the international law, including the fourth Geneva Convention on civilians’ protection.

Israel does not honor international law or UN resolutions, making it very interesting that so much of the world’s attention is directed at achieving yet another ruling, and a subsequent UN resolution that will be ignored. Some of the UN resolutions that Israel, readily, ignored without consequences include resolution 181 (II) 1947, the first UN partition of 1947, by encroaching further on Palestinian land. The UN and other nations legitimized Israel’s contempt by creating another partition, through Resolution 242 of 1967, which Israel, (again) violated. Gaza’s pre-October 7th border, which Israel had fortified with a million-dollar fence, encroaches significantly on the territory granted to Palestinians in the 1967 partition. Israel also denies Palestinians access to the sea. The case in the West Bank is even worse for the reason that Israel has settled 700, 000 violent colonists there, against the 1967UN partition.

Buying time for the US and Israel to Eliminate Gazans?

ICJ process buys more time for the US to implement their sinister plan. These countries always give Israel what it wants, while Palestinians are always made to wait in a hypocritical path to statehood from as early as 1947. Similarly, the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, in which Palestine recognized Israel, were hailed by Americans as ‘putting Palestinians on a path to statehood’. Decades later, on January 11, 2024, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on countries in the Middle East to immediately ‘integrate’ Israel into the region, and Isolate Iran, to achieve the possibility of, guess it…, placing Palestine on the path to statehood! Blinken, while keeping Palestinians waiting, his country (the US) is arming Israel and preventing a ceasefire, which appears to be calibrated to eliminate Palestinians and make a future Palestinian state progressively impractical. It is puzzling that the world is willing to stand another circus show to bring about a ruling that Israel will ignore, under its patrons, the US and UK. I am not optimistic about the ICJ and its ruling. There is a need to place more attention on an alternative path that sincerely pursues peace in Palestine and the region, including finding ways of making Israel abide by all past UN resolutions.


Simon Chege Ndirituis a political observer and research analyst from Africa, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook

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