”We are now rolling out the Gaza Nakba” – Israeli Minister Avi Dichter

“It is an entire nation out there that is responsible. It is not true this rhetoric about civilians not being aware, not involved. It’s absolutely not true. They could have risen up. They could have fought against that evil regime which took over Gaza in a coup d’etat.” Israeli President Isaac Herzog

By Sheldon Ranz

In December, South Africa made an application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) – located at the World Court in the Hague – against Israel on the charge of genocide due to the latter’s military assault on Gaza that has been ongoing since October 8, an assault that Israel alleges was due to the Hamas attack the day before. Israels actions, mostly consisting of carpet-bombing, have caused the deaths of nearly 27,000 Gaza Palestinians thus far, the vast majority of whom were civilians and at least one-third being children. This comes as no surprise, since Israeli leadership has made no attempt to sugarcoat its savagery, like it has in the past.

Last week, ICJ President Joan Donoghue, an American lawyer who once served in the Obama State Department, delivered its interim verdict. The World Court rebuffed Israel’s request to dismiss South Africa’s case altogether, and agreed with South Africa that a plausible case that Israel has committed genocide in Gaza can be made, and that case will now move forward in the ICJ for a final verdict sometime in the future.

In addition, the ICJ proceeded to endorse these six South African demands, that Israel must do the following:

1) take all measures to ensure that acts deemed genocidal under the Genocide Convention do not take place in Gaza; 

2) ensure that its military does not commit genocidal acts; 

3) prevent and punish genocide incitement and rhetoric; 

4) enable and facilitate the provision of basic services and humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza; 

5) prevent destruction and preserve evidence of genocide in its military operations, and 

6) report to the court within one month, informing the court of its compliance with the aforementioned preliminary measures order, and in response to South Africa’s genocide complaint.

In endorsing these demands. the Court upheld “the right of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to be protected from acts of genocide and related prohibited acts” under the 1948 Genocide Convention. It found that “the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is at serious risk of deteriorating further before the Court renders its final judgment.” The Court did not impose a ceasefire on Israel however, as South Africa had requested. Observers of the Court believe that is because Gaza is not a state actor and ceasefires can only be imposed between states, as the Court did between Russia and Ukraine in 2022.

Israeli leadership reacted to the news in its usual apoplectic manner, accusing everybody within spitting distance of anti-Semitism. It has since killed hundreds more Palestinian civilians in Gaza, with no signs of abating. Leading voices in the BDS movement, such as Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimeh, see the World Court verdict as a historic win for Palestinians, although the Court has no real mechanism for enforcing its judgments.

In the court of public opinion, Israel is taking quite a beating. Public opinion polls show as many as half of registered Democrats believe Israel has committed genocide in Gaza. President Biden has acquired the moniker ‘Genocide Joe’ among those deeply disappointed by his blind support for Israel’s Gaza invasion. Just as a confluence of human rights organizations several years ago enabled people of good will the courage and resolve to publicly pin the apartheid label on Israel, we are now. at a comparable moment to do so for a different label. If Israel were a movie, it would be rated PG for Plausibly Genocidal. This can only aid in unleashing more activist energy for municipal, state, and other institutional divestment from Israel around the country.

Sheldon Ranz is the Editor of Socialist Currents and the Director of Special Projects for SDUSA.


  1. This is thorough and excellent journalism Sheldon! We social democrats have an ethical mandate to push our country to divest from genocide. Those saying that we should skirt around this issue for the sake of “unity” are no different than those who pressured FDR to gear his New Deal towards favoring white America. When “unity” demands a disregard for oppressed people, social democrats refuse to abandon the oppressed!

  2. Sheldon, you say that Israel’s attack on Gaza is “an assault that Israel alleges was due to the Hamas attack the day before.” You seriously doubt this? Netanyahu facilitated funds to Hamas from Qatar and eased economic strictures on Gaza with the conviction that he had bought Hamas off.

    In my post at “The Third Narrative” website, “Israel, Hamas and ‘Genocide’,”,
    I analyze the nature of Hamas and explain why Israel is not guilty of genocide yet has apparently violated the rule of proportionality in its war against Hamas. I also advocate an endgame strategy that reintroduces the prospect of a 2 state solution.

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