newsIsrael at War

South Africa petitions ICJ over Gaza ‘starvation’

Pretoria asked the International Court of Justice to make a decision without holding a hearing.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

After failing to convince the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to halt Israel’s defensive war against Hamas in Gaza, South Africa again petitioned the court on Wednesday, citing reports of “widespread starvation” in the Gaza Strip.

In its new request, South Africa stated that it is “compelled to return to the Court in light of the new facts and changes in the situation in Gaza—particularly the situation of widespread starvation,” according to a statement on the court’s website.

Pretoria blamed the alleged starvation on Israel’s “egregious breaches of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” Israel and South Africa are signatories to the Genocide Convention.

South Africa also asked that the court make a decision without holding a hearing, “in order urgently to ensure the safety and security of 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, including over a million children.”

On Feb. 27, a U.N. aid official told the Security Council that one quarter of Gaza’s population were a step away from famine. However, Israel and the United States held Hamas and the United Nations itself responsible for the situation.

“[Responsibility] lies with Hamas because Hamas started this on Oct. 7 in its invasion,” Robert Wood, the U.S. deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told the press.

Jonathan Miller, Israel’s U.N. deputy ambassador, told the Security Council that his delegation is fully committed to ramping up assistance, but that U.N. incompetence in routing deliveries and its inability to keep aid out of the hands of Hamas were responsible for the failure of that assistance to reach its intended recipients.

In December, South Africa charged Israel with genocide at the ICJ. Public hearings were held on Jan. 11 and 12.

The ICJ on Feb. 16 rejected South Africa’s request to impose additional measures against Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the court “rightly rejected the outrageous demand to deny” Israel the right to defend itself against terrorism.

“The very claim that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians is not just false, it is outrageous, and the court’s willingness to discuss it at all is a mark of disgrace that will not be erased for generations,” he added.

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