ACCOUNT

Global Community Turns on Israel, Begins Investigation of Alleged War Crimes

Global Community Turns on Israel, Begins Investigation of Alleged War Crimes

The racist apartheid system in South Africa lasted 46 years, starting in 1948 when the all-white National Party won control of South Africa’s government on a platform of racial segregation.

Millions of non-white families were forcibly removed from urban areas designated as “white” under apartheid laws. The apartheid system also denied them political representation and access to decent education, health care and economic opportunities, according to The African Union.

Per a chart by World Economics, South Africa still ranks as the second-most unequal country in the world, defeating only the tiny African country of Eswatini in economic equality among its citizens.

Given these facts, I believe it is the height of hypocrisy for South Africa to accuse the nation of Israel of anything.

However, fact often is stranger than fiction.

On Thursday, South Africa presented its case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), accusing Israel of committing genocide during its three-month military campaign in Gaza.

 

South Africa’s application alleges that Israel’s rhetoric and military actions, which reportedly have killed over 23,000 Gazans and displaced most of the territory’s 2 million residents, amounted to “direct and public incitement to genocide,” The New York Times reported in an article that seemed to celebrate the investigation.

Not surprisingly, Israel staunchly denied the accusations on Friday.

“There can hardly be a charge more false and more malevolent than the allegation against Israel of genocide,” said Tal Becker, Israel’s representative to the ICJ.

Israel maintains that its October invasion of Gaza was an act of self-defense after Hamas militants killed about 1,200 Israelis in a raid.

The irony of Israel facing accusations of genocide after what that nation went through at the hands of Nazis during World War II weighs heavily on many Israeli minds.

Israel’s founding came in the shadow of the Holocaust and the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis.

Leaders such as David Ben-Gurion asserted the vital need for Jewish self-determination and for a refuge from anti-Semitic violence in the wake of the worst genocide ever inflicted on their people.

So, for many Israelis, the symbolism of now facing accusations of trying to annihilate the Palestinians as a people represents a gross perversion of their national identity. The case strikes at the heart of why Israel exists at all in the aftermath of genocide.

It feels like a sick twist of history for the Jewish state, risen from the ashes of the Holocaust, to stand accused in an international court of the gravest possible crime against other people.

The lead author of the 1948 Genocide Convention, which South Africa claims Israel is in violation of, was Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jew whose family perished in the Holocaust.

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While the current civilian suffering in Gaza is undeniably tragic, most Israelis view the October offensive as a justifiable response to murderous attacks from Hamas that killed over a thousand Israeli citizens.

The genocide allegations are seen by many Israelis as weaponizing their painful history to tarnish their nation’s founding ideals.

Tal Becker, an Israeli lawyer speaking in Israel’s defense, called the genocide allegation “false and malevolent.”

While civilian suffering was “tragic,” Israel says Hamas militants deliberately embedded in residential areas are responsible. Israel says it tries to minimize harm even as Hamas seeks to maximize both Israeli and Palestinian deaths, according to the BBC.

Germany issued statements in support of Israel, rejecting the genocide claims as baseless. Germany pledged to speak at upcoming hearings, given its history with the Holocaust.

Spokespeople for both the White House and the U.S. Department of State firmly oppose South Africa’s core legal claim that Israel’s military actions have amounted to genocide against Palestinians.

They said the genocide allegation is “unfounded,” according to the Times of Israel.

In actuality, the accusations make little difference to the actions on the ground.

The ICJ will rule whether Israel should halt its Gaza campaign while the court deliberates, but a final verdict could take years, according to the Times.

Regardless of the decision, the verdict is not legally binding and has little effect on current events beyond giving Palestinians a moral victory should Israel lose the verdict.

But it demonstrates, again, the global community and world media’s obsession with attacking Israel while giving Hamas, the elected government of Palestine, a pass.

 

 

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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