Pandor says Israel is ‘ignoring’ the ICJ order to stop killings in Gaza

Thursday, February 1, 2024

International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, said she was of the view that Israel was flouting Friday’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling to stop the killings in Gaza. 

“I do believe the rulings of the court have been ignored by Israel. Hundreds of people have been killed in the past three or four days. And clearly, Israel believes it has the licence to do as it wishes. So, the world has to reflect because we have to come to a point to say what do we do to stop such acts occurring, not just with Israel but any party in the world,” Pandor said on Wednesday.

The Minister was briefing the media on a range of issues including the ongoing Israeli “offensive” on Gaza in the wake of the recent ICJ ruling.

The ICJ ordered Israel to, among others, take all measures within its power “to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide” and to immediately ensure that Palestinians have access to basic services and humanitarian assistance.

Pandor said she believes that the findings made it clear that it was “plausible” that genocide was taking place against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

While South Africa had called for the suspension of Israeli military operations in Gaza, the court did not grant this provisional measure.  

However, Pandor said the ICJ’s decision marks a decisive victory for international law and a significant milestone in the search for justice for the Palestinian people.  

“It also affirms the importance of global governance institutions, including organs of the United Nations. It remains vital for all Member States to respect and implement the decisions of the court.”

South Africa had approached the ICJ to garner not only a ceasefire of Israel’s military barrage of Palestine but also to ask the court to find the Israeli government guilty of committing acts of genocide.

“And I suppose what confronts us now is what do we do if there is no implementation? And that is the question all nations must answer today because it is a body of the United Nations that has set out these provisional measures. It's not the South African government… And if its orders are not respected, what does this mean for every other government that commits atrocities against a people.” 

She is of the view that this is the big question that faces the global community. 

Citing Oxfam’s report, the Minister said figures indicate that the average daily killing of Palestinians by the Israeli military since 7 October 2023 surpasses the daily death toll of any major conflict in recent years.  

“The deaths of children are almost incomparable both in terms of actual numbers killed and the rate at which children have been killed. More journalists have been killed in Gaza in the last 100 days than were killed during World War II and the Vietnam War.”

Pandor said South Africa will continue to do everything within its power to preserve the existence of the Palestinian people as a group, and to end all acts of apartheid and genocide against the Palestinian people. 

“We will walk with them towards the realisation of their collective right to self-determination, for, as Nelson Mandela momentously declared, ‘Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians’.”

“The UN peace and security architecture is clearly not able to give effect to the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people or to protect them from grave war crimes and the threat of genocide, necessitating concerned States to turn to the judicial institutions of the UN.” 

Pandor also took the time to welcome the support expressed by several countries. 

“We encourage States that are so inclined to approach the Court to intervene in the proceedings to send a strong message to the international community that the situation in the Gaza Strip is indefensible.” –