‘Without merit, counterproductive’; USA gets in under SA over case against Israel


The US has slammed South Africa’s charge of genocide against Israel and rejected all charges against its ally regarding the war in Gaza.

John Kirby, spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council, says the case is “without merit, counterproductive and in no way based on facts”.

It will be heard next week in the International Court of Justice of the United Nations in The Hague, where South Africa as well as Israel will have the opportunity to make submissions.

According to reports, South Africa is represented by senior advocates John Dugard, Max du Plessis, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi and Adila Hassim. Their junior counsel are Sarah Pudifin-Jones, Lerato Zikalala and Tshidiso Ramogale. External rest representatives are Vaughan Lowe (KC) and Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh (KC).

South Africa argues, among other things, that Israel’s “indiscriminate use of force and forced removal of residents” in the Gaza Strip will ultimately amount to genocide.

Conflict has been raging in this area since October 7 after Hamas fighters attacked Israel. Israel responded with force and indicated that the war would continue until Hamas was destroyed. More than 21,000 people have been killed since the start of the war and millions of Gazans have been displaced.

In support of its complaint, the South African government also refers to “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 are still being committed in the context of the ongoing massacre in Gaza”.

The Department of Foreign Relations and Cooperation argues that South Africa, as a signatory to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, is obliged to prevent genocide from taking place.

South Africa has also criticized Israel in the past and drawn parallels with this country and South Africa’s own history of apartheid. In the application submitted to the court, South Africa argues that Israel is acting with the specific intention of destroying Palestinians in Gaza.

An angry Israel said in response to South Africa’s complaint that it “rejects with contempt the blood libel spread by South Africa and its application”.

Matthew Miller, spokesman for the US Department of Foreign Affairs, said in a separate comment on South Africa’s complaint that in its evaluation of the war, the US has not yet witnessed any acts that amount to genocide by Israel.

“Genocide is, of course, a heinous injustice,” Miller told several reporters.

“These are accusations that should not be made lightly.”

Jaco Kleynhans, head of international relations at the Solidarity Movement, told RNews earlier that the relationship between South Africa and Israel has now reached an all-time low in light of this complaint.

In addition to the negative effects that a hostile relationship can have on trade and investment, the spillover effect is even greater.

Kleynhans says that South Africa’s foreign policy is increasingly being watched with a hawk’s eye by members of the US Congress in particular, but also European politicians, and that the country’s “exaggerated reaction” to the conflict in the Gaza Strip among many Western leaders creating a perception that South Africa is increasingly anti-Western.

  • Additional source: AFP