January 29, 2024

ICJ Ruling

The World Court [last] Friday ordered Israel to take action to prevent acts of genocide as it wages war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, but it stopped short of calling for an immediate ceasefire. Ruling on a case brought by South Africa, the court said Israel must ensure its forces did not commit genocide and take measures to improve the humanitarian situation for Palestinian civilians in the enclave.” Reuters

Here’s our previous coverage of the case. The Flip Side

See past issues

From the Left

The left generally supports the ruling, and urges Israel to abide by it.

“‘As long as those who make rules enforce them against others while believing that they and their allies are above those rules, the international governance system is in trouble,’ Thuli Madonsela, one of South Africa’s leading legal minds and an architect of its post-apartheid Constitution, told me…

“‘We say these rules are the rules when Russia invades Ukraine or when the Rohingya are being massacred by Myanmar, but if it’s now Israel butchering Palestinians, depriving them of food, displacing them en masse, then the rules don’t apply and whoever tries to apply the rules is antisemitic?’… If we want to live in a world with rules, they have to apply to Israel, too.”

Lydia Polgreen, New York Times

“The court’s ruling was also a repudiation of Israel’s western backers. The Biden administration had called the suit ‘meritless’. The British government said it was ‘nonsense’. By a vote of 15 to 2, the ICJ judges found otherwise…

“On the need to allow humanitarian aid to a starving population in Gaza and to prevent and punish the incitement of genocide, even the respected Israeli judge, Aharon Barak, joined the majority, making the vote 16 to 1 – a powerful repudiation of those who try to chalk up challenges to Israel’s conduct in Gaza as an unfair double standard or antisemitism…

“Joe Biden holds the most powerful leverage. The US government provides $3.8bn in annual military aid to Israel and is its principal arms supplier. That support should stop if the Israeli government ignores the court’s ruling.”

Kenneth Roth, The Guardian

Some argue, “It is fair to question, as the Biden administration has, whether the Israeli response has gone too far — whether the collateral damage is disproportionate, given the effective impossibility of eradicating Hamas, and, at the very least, whether Israel is doing itself a disservice in the court of public opinion. All of this is a far cry, however, from deeming Israel’s actions genocidal…

This is a gross misreading of genocide; indeed, it is a perversion of the term. It would be appalling applied against any state, but it is especially offensive wielded against Israel — a country that was forged in the ashes of the worst genocide in human history, that was one of the early signatories to the genocide convention and that is now responding to the greatest slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust.”

Ruth Marcus, Washington Post

From the Right

The right is critical of the ruling, arguing that the court is biased against Israel.

The right is critical of the ruling, arguing that the court is biased against Israel.

“The decision relied heavily on information from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) concerning conditions in Gaza. Shortly thereafter, in a separate but intertwined statement, UNRWA dismissed twelve of its employees after being presented with strong evidence that they were involved in the October 7 attacks…

“In citing casualty numbers in Gaza, the court acknowledges ‘figures relating to the Gaza Strip cannot be independently verified,’ and yet goes on to cite the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs anyway…

“But the UNCHA derives its data from Hamas, which has an obvious interest in exaggerating death tolls and a record of doing so. In October, the terrorist group infamously claimed that 500 people were killed in an Israeli strike on a hospital when in actuality it was a misfired terrorist rocket.”

The Editors, National Review

“Israel formally declared war [after the attacks] and has been operating under the rules of war since that time. Hamas has taken every opportunity to violate those rules by engaging in offensive operations out of uniform, hiding military assets and operations within civilian structures, and deliberately targeting unarmed civilians for both murder and widespread rape and pillaging. The ICJ barely notices these crimes, and has nothing to say at all about promises by Hamas to keep repeating the October 7 massacres until Israel is destroyed…

“Hamas is the recognized government in Gaza. If the Gazans want the war to end, they can formally capitulate to the aggrieved party and surrender Hamas leaders and terrorists, just like any other nation would have to do to sue for peace. The Germans and Japanese did exactly that at the end of World War II after their wars of genocidal ambition turned out badly for them. Until then… Israel has every right to prosecute this war to finally put an end to it.”

Ed Morrissey, Hot Air

“It will be said that all the court’s rulings are provisional. More proceedings are to come — years of them. But that is the point: Israel will be in the dock now for years to come. Not China for its mass murder of Uyghurs. Not Syria for massacres of hundreds of thousands of civilians. Not Russia for deliberate bombing of civilians in Ukraine. Only Israel, for its efforts to destroy a terrorist group that killed a thousand civilians in the most brutal ways imaginable.”

Elliott Abrams, National Review

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