‘State of Palestine’ Seeks to Join South Africa’s Case at Top UN Court Accusing Israel of Genocide

Mon Jun 03 2024
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THE HAGUE: Palestinian officials have filed a request on behalf of the ‘State of Palestine’ to join South Africa before the United Nations’ top court in a case in which Pretoria has accused Israel of “genocide” in Gaza, court documents showed on Monday.

“On May 31, the State of Palestine filed in the Registry of the Court an application for permission to intervene and a declaration of intervention,” in South Africa’s genocide case, the International Court of Justice said in a statement.

The request published Monday says that Israel’s ongoing military operation is “part of a systematic effort to wipe Palestinian society and its culture and social institutions from the map.” The request to the ICJ was signed by Palestinian Authority foreign ministry official Ammar Hijazi.

South Africa filed its case with the UN top court late last year accusing Israel of breaching the genocide convention in its military attack that has laid waste to large swaths of Gaza. Israel denies it is committing genocide in its military operation in Gaza.

The court has issued three preliminary orders in the case calling on Israel to do all it can to prevent civilian deaths in the besieged Gaza Strip, ramp up humanitarian aid and, most recently, halt its offensive in Rafah.

It is unclear how long the UN top court’s judges will take to rule on the request. If granted, Palestinian officials will be able to address the court in writing and during public hearings.

In their request, the Palestinian officials said they are directly affected by the case.

“The Israeli onslaught has obliterated and damaged, beyond recognition, Gaza’s hospitals, mosques, churches, universities, schools, homes, shops, and infrastructure, as part of a systematic effort to wipe Palestinian society and its culture and social institutions from the map,” the request says.

The request adds that Israel is violating the UN top court’s orders and continuing with “its genocidal acts including deliberately and systematically impeding humanitarian aid, resulting in an intentionally engineered situation of starvation and a creeping famine that is increasingly imminent.”

The Palestinians have been to the court before. In 2018, The Palestinian Authority filed a case asking its judges to order Washington to remove the relocated US embassy from Jerusalem. The case followed the decision of the administration of then-US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.

That case remains before the court, where cases can take years to resolve.

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