As the war continues to rage on between Israel and Palestine, many countries globally are making their views known – either in support of Israel, Palestine or denouncing the war and ensuant genocide that is currently taking place in Gaza. Many countries have also become increasingly vocal about the atrocities taking place in Gaza, since the onset of the war on the 7th of October 2023. Israel’s retaliation has been relentless and has resulted in over 22,000 recorded deaths accordingly to Gaza’s health ministry and over 57,000 injuries so far, approximately two-thirds of the casualties and fatalities recorded are women and children, highlighting an even greater need for an immediate ceasefire. However calls from other countries in this regard has largely fallen on deaf ears, with Israel determined to continue their bombardment of Gaza. The United States and the United Kingdom have been clear on their support of Israel up-until recently, however the continuation of the war is making it harder for them to remain so due to increasing global pressure.

On the 29th of December 2023, South Africa took a stance and filed a suit against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague in the Netherlands. The 84-page document outlines the evidence of some of the ‘brutality’ taking place in Gaza and how this contravenes Israel’s responsibilities under international law. The case has also been filed in an effort to prompt further, more decisive action from the ICJ and the United Nations. South Africa has been one of the most vocal and vehement countries in their condemnation of Israel’s actions since the start of the war and have taken actions such as recalling the South African ambassador from Israel, leaning on the other BRICS nations to follow suit in their condemnation, as well as referring the ‘suffering’ of the Palestinians to the International Criminal Court for investigation and action.

In the lawsuit, South Africa has accused Israel of committing genocide in Gaza in accordance with the 1948 Genocide Convention which defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” The evidence provided for this includes the mass-killing of Palestinians, their expulsion and displacement from places of home and work as well as restricting access to basic resources such as food, water, fuel, and medical assistance. This also includes the prevention of Palestinian women giving birth safely in Gaza due to a lack of critical medical resources, which also contributes to what the suit terms as the “[Palestinians] destruction as a group”. One of the main requests is that the “ICJ move urgently to prevent Israel from committing further crimes in the strip”.  According to Mai El-Sadany, a human rights lawyer and director of The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy ; “The proceedings are important in slowing the normalisation of any mass atrocities committed by Israel; they send a message that if a country commits mass atrocities, as Israel is doing, it must expect to be brought before an international court, for its record to be critiqued against international norms, and for its reputation on the international stage to take a hit.”