‘Hypocritical’; not everyone supports SA’s complaint against Israel

Henry

Various organizations and parties have made it clear once again that they do not support South Africa’s charge of genocide against Israel. The first part of the complaint will be heard on Thursday and Friday at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

The ACDP says the South African government is hypocritical and is only going to alienate its trading partners in the West.

A total of 25 Christian organizations also speak with one voice when they argue that the South African government is anything but consistent in maintaining international law.

“The decision is fundamentally flawed,” says the group of organisations, including the National Church Leaders Forum, Transformation Africa, Bridges for Peace and Concerned Clergy Western Cape.

The ACDP is also opposed to the move.

“The ACDP does not believe that this court case is in South Africa’s best national interest,” agreed the Hon. Kenneth Meshoe, leader of the ACDP, on Wednesday on the eve of the start of the case.

The group of organizations agrees and says the government’s actions can be “interpreted as direct support for Hamas’s tactics”.

“These include the use of civilians as human shields and the diversion of aid for military purposes and the construction of tunnels, rather than humanitarian relief sent to the Palestinian people, which has been intercepted by Hamas,” said a joint statement from the organizations.

“This position raises questions about South Africa’s position on these critical human rights issues and its role in international diplomacy.”

The group of organizations wants to know from the South African government why it has not made headlines against the numerous atrocities committed against innocent civilians – not only in Palestine but also in countries such as Syria, Nigeria, Rwanda, Mozambique and Afghanistan.

The ACDP on Wednesday lamented the loss of innocent lives in both camps of the Israel-Gaza war.

“However, we believe that the South African government could have played a much more constructive role in influencing Hamas to release hostages after the deadly attack on October 7 and even to surrender to avoid the loss of civilian life and to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East.

“By taking sides now by bringing this court case to the International Court of Justice, unfortunately he can no longer play a role as an honest mediator,” says Meshoe.

“We also do not believe that the South African government will be able to prove that Israel has the necessary genocidal intent against the Palestinian people as required by the Genocide Convention.

“It is also hypocritical of the South African government to now approach the International Court of Justice while ignoring the International Criminal Court’s warrants for the arrest of the then Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, in 2015.”

Meshoe reminds that South Africa tried to withdraw from the International Criminal Court in 2016 and later criticized the very court when the court issued a warrant for the arrest of Pres. Vladimir Putin of Russia issued after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Meshoe and the Christian organizations are also afraid that South Africa will alienate its Western trading partners, among them the Americans and the British, should he proceed with tomorrow’s application.

“The US said South Africa’s court case was ‘without merit, counterproductive and completely without any basis in fact’. This could jeopardize the all-important Agoa trade agreement with the US when it is considered for renewal in 2025.

“This, as well as broken relations with other important trading partners, can cost the country dearly at a time of unprecedented levels of unemployment, poverty and low economic growth,” warns Meshoe.

The group of 25 Christian organizations also says adverse political and economic consequences are likely to arise from the perception of many of South Africa’s major trading partners that “the decision is a validation of the atrocities committed by Hamas”.

“South Africa is suffering from deteriorating unemployment levels and high levels of poverty, and is fast becoming an uninvestable, failed country. We urge the government to focus on these key issues, which affect every South African, especially our most vulnerable citizens.”

Despite concerns, there is also support for the complaint which is being heard in The Hague this week. RNews earlier reported that by Tuesday, more than 1,000 progressive international organizations had already declared their support for South Africa’s application.

The South African government claims that there are continuous reports of international crimes, such as crimes against humanity and war crimes being committed, as well as reports that acts bordering on genocide have already been committed or may be committed.