Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Coordinating Committee: Major defeat for Israel — ICJ rules Israel is plausibly committing genocide in Gaza (plus South African BDS statement and 2023 United Palestinian anti-Apartheid call)
First published at BDSMovement.net on January 26.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) today made history. It confirmed the plausibility of South Africa's charge under the Genocide Convention that “Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza.” It orders Israel to prevent any genocidal act, to stop its military from committing such acts, and to ensure the provision of the entry into the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip of food, water, medicine and other humanitarian needs.
The Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Coordinating Committee (PAACC), comprising the Anti-Apartheid Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Anti-Apartheid Committee of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the BDS movement, the Palestinian Human Rights Organization Council (PHROC) and the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), warmly welcomes the ICJ’s historic decision. ICJ decisions are final, binding, and not subject to appeal, and all states must comply with their legal obligations by unilaterally and collectively taking all feasible measures to urgently and definitively ensure that Israel respects the court’s decision and implements in full and without delay its ordered provisional measures.
While the Court fell short of explicitly ordering an immediate and permanent ceasefire to stop the genocide, states must now be pressured more than ever to fulfill their legal obligations and to impose on Israel a ceasefire.
The ICJ decision now puts heightened legal – not to mention moral – responsibility on the shoulders of states that respect international law, civil society, and people of conscience worldwide to bring to an end Israel’s ongoing genocide and to help dismantle its underlying system of oppression.
All states, corporations and institutions, including media corporations, that are complicit in any aspect of Israel’s 75-year-old regime of settler-colonialism, apartheid and military occupation must end this complicity at once and be held accountable for aiding and abetting war crimes, crimes against humanity, and, plausibly, genocide. Third States that have knowingly supplied arms, materials and other support to Israel for use in atrocity crimes, including genocide, must be held to account for contributing to internationally wrongful acts and breaches of jus cogens norms of international law.
Following the ICJ’s historic decision that Israel is plausibly committing genocide, and given that States Parties to the Genocide Convention have an erga omnes obligation to prevent and punish the crime of genocide, States must:
Impose a two-way military embargo on Israel, work to adopt a mandatory arms embargo on it at the UN, and adopt other punitive measures to prevent and suppress its acts of genocide. and end the provision of economic and diplomatic support to it.
Impose lawful and proportionate economic sanctions and other countermeasures on Israel, including canceling all free-trade and cooperation agreements, until it adheres to its obligations under international law.
States Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) must pressure the Prosecutor to swiftly advance investigation into all war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide carried out by Israeli perpetrators against the Palestinian people, and to immediately and without further delay issue arrest warrants for the case files before the Court, since 2014. They must also ensure the Court is fully resourced to ensure the viability of the investigation into the Situation in Palestine.
Arrest and prosecute, including by applying Universal Jurisdiction, Israeli nationals, including government officials, or persons present on their territory or within their jurisdiction, who have incited to genocide, supported genocide, or carried out genocidal acts against the Palestinian people.
Act on their responsibility to ensure that corporate entities and institutions domiciled in their territory or under their jurisdiction will cease and desist from aiding and abetting Israel’s genocide and other crimes under international law, including the crime against humanity of apartheid, against the Palestinian people.
Join the large and increasing number of states in the Global South in supporting South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the ICJ.
The order for provisional measures can contribute to the protection of Palestinian rights from “further, severe and irreparable harm” as requested by South Africa. If implemented, the measures may halt the severe harm of Israel’s genocide against 2.3 million Palestinians, but even when Israel’s relentless bombing of civilians and civilian infrastructure stops, the famine and infectious diseases that are spreading in Gaza due to Israel’s deadly siege and domicide will continue to devastate Palestinians. UN human rights experts have warned that all Gaza Palestinians, half of them children, are hungry and over half a million are “starving.”
Much more needs to be done to address the root causes–the ongoing Palestinian Nakba. “Israel’s genocidal acts,” as South Africa has affirmed before the ICJ, must be understood “within the broader context of Israel’s 75-year apartheid, 56-year occupation and 16-year siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.” Israel’s settler-colonial violence since 1948, said South Africa, “has systematically and forcibly dispossessed, displaced, and fragmented the Palestinian people, deliberately denying them their internationally recognized, inalienable right to self-determination, and their internationally recognized right of return as refugees to their towns and villages, in what is now the State of Israel.”
In the Unified Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Call of 2023 (see further below), Palestinians affirmed that “the dismantling of Israel’s regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid is an indispensable condition for the Palestinian people to exercise its full legitimate and inalienable rights as stipulated in international law.”
The Palestinian people know all too well that only through people power, unity, and mobilization can we achieve justice and be able to exercise our inalienable rights. We call on people around the world to seize this moment created by the ICJ ruling and respond to the Palestinian Unified Call “to strengthen the growing global state of solidarity with the Palestinian people and our just cause by supporting - and actively participating in - the global, Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.”
Justice is the only acceptable solution. Any action or diplomatic effort that is not focused on ending and punishing Israel’s genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and human rights violations, as well as ending all international complicity in them, amounts to perpetuating its impunity, injustice and oppression of our people while further dismantling the rule of international law.
Apartheid Israel is officially on trial for genocide: South African BDS Coalition statement on the ICJ order
The South African BDS Coalition welcomes the ICJ order at the Hague today. This historic judgement demonstrates the validity of the meticulously compiled case by the South African legal team and what most people around the world can clearly see - the genocide unfolding on our screens over the last 112 days.
The SA BDS Coalition is proud that the South African government hauled apartheid Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ is now compelled to investigate and hold Israel accountable for its genocide on the people of Gaza under the Genocide Convention.
The ICJ today made history. It confirmed the plausibility of South Africa's charge under the Genocide Convention that “Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza.” It ordered Israel to prevent any genocidal act, to stop its military from committing such acts, and to ensure the provision of the entry of food, water, medicine and other humanitarian needs into the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip.
While the Court fell short of explicitly ordering an immediate and permanent ceasefire to stop the genocide, in the words of [South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi] Pandor at the Hague: “How do you provide aid and water without a ceasefire? If you read the order, by implication a ceasefire must happen.”
States must now be pressured more than ever to fulfill their legal obligations to impose a ceasefire on Israel.
Today is the 112th day since the Apartheid state of Israel began its latest outrage of ethnically cleansing Palestinians in Gaza. More than 26,000 Palestinians have been killed, 75% of whom are women and children, and more than 8,000 others lie buried under the rubble. More than 64,000 people have been injured; schools, mosques, churches and hospitals, medical personnel, journalists and academics are being targeted. It is a massive humanitarian catastrophe, with starvation and the spread of diseases, while Apartheid Israel’s murderous massacres, bombardments, and wanton destruction continue. More than 2 million people have been displaced.
“Our call for a ‘ceasefire now’ must ring out louder than ever before! It is up to us - people of conscience across the world - to rise up in unprecedented numbers and demand the immediate end to genocide,” said Terri Maggott, a Palestinian Solidarity Campaign member after watching the judgement.
Now is the time to wield the weapon of BDS in support of the Palestinian people for whom simply to exist is to resist.
The South African application recognised the context of the current genocide, stating that an “ongoing Nakba through Israel’s colonization since 1948” has been perpetrated on Palestinians.
Now is the time to disrupt business as usual with the genocidal state of Israel and those countries and companies that are complicit. Israel must be seen in all its nakedness as a terrorist and barbaric state that must be reduced to a pariah in the world, just as its late unlamented former friend, apartheid South Africa.
We demand that our government implement policies for a full trade embargo, sports, cultural and academic boycotts, and sanctions. Apartheid Israel must also be kicked out of the Olympics, FIFA and all international sporting bodies.
We urge the International Criminal Court (ICC) to act with the urgency required to prosecute individuals responsible for genocide, including Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu and members of the murderous Israeli war cabinet. ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan must be forced to resign and be charged with complicity for his abject failure to act against the genocidal Israeli government.
All states, corporations and institutions, including media institutions that are complicit in Israel’s 75-year-old settler-colonialism, apartheid and military occupation must end this complicity at once and be held accountable for aiding and abetting war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. States that have knowingly supplied arms, materials and other support to Israel for use in its atrocities must be held to account. They are complicit in genocide.
International law alone cannot bring us justice. Only our relentless mobilisation to build people power can ultimately end international state, corporate and institutional complicity in Israel’s 75-year-old regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid and thus support Palestinian liberation.
We defeated the apartheid regime in South Africa and we will stand in solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle, side by side, until they defeat the genocidal apartheid Israeli regime.
January 2023 United Palestinian Call for Intensified Struggle Against Israeli Apartheid
First published at BDSMovement.net.
In January 2023, at the conclusion of the first Anti-Apartheid Palestinian National Conference, the PLO, the BDS movement and Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations issued the following historic united call to intensify global pressure to dismantle Israel's regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid.
Towards a global front to dismantle Israel’s regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid
We, the participants in the first Palestinian National Conference against Israel’s regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid, starting with the Anti-Apartheid Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the sole legitimate representative of our people, in partnership with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, the Palestinian NGO Network, the Palestinian Ministry of Justice and the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC), and with the participation of legal experts, journalists, political activists, academics and supporters of our cause, gathered in this conference to escalate our coordinated and strategic struggle to expose and dismantle Israel’s system of settler colonialism, apartheid and military occupation oppressing our Palestinian people as a whole, in the homeland and in the diaspora, since the 1948 Nakba.
This call forms the foundation and political, human rights, diplomatic, media and alliance basis for building a global front to end apartheid and settler colonialism: to work with all who advocate for universal human rights and Palestinian rights to build this Arab and international front:
The rights of the Palestinian people in accordance with international law, particularly the UN Charter, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (especially the first common article between them), as well as the relevant UN resolutions, are indivisible and constitute the cornerstone of our legitimate liberation struggle.
In this declaration and call, we affirm the following political, human rights, diplomatic and alliance issues:
a. The participants in the conference and the signatories to this call confirm what Palestinian and international human rights organizations, as well as UN Special Rapporteurs have stated regarding the applicability of the crime against humanity of apartheid, as defined in international law, to the system and policies imposed by Israel on the entire Palestinian people since Israel’s establishment in 1948.
b. The international community, especially the UN, bear legal responsibility to enforce Israel’s compliance with international law by taking all necessary measures, including lawful sanctions pursuant to Chapter VII of the UN Charter, to end Israel’s military occupation, including the settlements and wall (in accordance with relevant UN resolutions, especially Resolution 2334), and to dismantle its settler-colonial regime, of which apartheid is a tool and manifestation.
c. The dismantling of Israel’s regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid is an indispensable condition for the Palestinian people to exercise its full legitimate and inalienable rights as stipulated in international law. Foremost among these rights are: the right to self-determination of the entire Indigenous Palestinian people on its national territory; the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their original homes and lands and to receive reparations (as stipulated in UNGA Resolution 194); the right to establish an independent, sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital; the national rights as well as the right to comprehensive equality of our people in the 1948 areas (including recognition of their Arab-Palestinian national identity); and the right to sovereignty over our natural resources.
d. The Israeli apartheid system is a tool of the Zionist settler-colonial project in Palestine, which established the State of Israel on the ruins of the Palestinian homeland and displaced most of the Indigenous Arab-Palestinian people during the Nakba of 1948, which started soon after the unjust partition decision of 1947. This project’s plans were implemented through the ethnic cleansing of the Arab-Palestinian people to consolidate Israel’s settler-colonial control over the largest possible area of our homeland.
Since the Nakba, the foundations of Israeli apartheid were operationalized through laws, policies, and practices, especially those aimed at denying Palestinian refugees and displaced persons their right of return to their homes, lands, and properties, thereby entrenching their dispossession, fragmentation, and domination. These laws, most notably the 2018 Nation-State of the Jewish People Basic Law, have aimed at obliterating Palestinian rights and undermining the Palestinian identity. After 74 years, Israel’s gradual ethnic cleansing of Palestinians continues, through the continuous "Judaization" operations in the Galilee and the Negev, and settlement operations and annexation of Palestinian lands in the West Bank, especially in Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, which confirms that the Nakba continues.
e. Zionism, which arose in the context of European imperialist and colonial expansion, is the intellectual and ideological basis of settler-colonialism in Palestine. It is a racist, genocidal ideology that encourages terrorism and fascism, as our people has witnessed for 74 years.
f. The Israeli regime of settler-colonialism, apartheid and military occupation depends for its survival and strength on the complicity of states, corporations and institutions that deal with it as if it were normal. It also depends on normalization with some Arab regimes and institutions, establishing regional security and military alliances under its leadership to enhance its regional hegemony. The Israeli regime of oppression is not only a threat to the Palestinian people and the fraternal Arab peoples. It is also a threat to millions around the world, as it test its doctrines, its repression mechanisms, and its military and security products on Palestinians then exports them to tyrannical and dictatorial regimes worldwide.
Based on the above, the conference:
Calls on governments, parliaments, and political parties, in the Arab world and globally, to contribute to dismantling Israel’s regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid, starting with imposing a comprehensive military and security embargo on it; ending all commercial and financial agreements with it; and banning all products of companies complicit in its occupation, colonization, and apartheid. It also calls on all governments to treat the Israeli occupation’s political, security and military leaders as war criminals by trying them and banning them from entering their countries, and by putting pressure on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to try them as well.
Calls on the peoples of the world and their democratic and progressive forces that uphold peace with justice to strengthen the growing global state of solidarity with the Palestinian people and our just cause by supporting - and actively participating in - the global, Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Effective solidarity with our people’s liberation struggle begins with working in every arena to end the complicity of governments, companies and institutions with the Israeli apartheid regime.
Calls on all fraternal and friendly states and regional organizations -- particularly the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the African Union -- to support this call in word and in deed, including by supporting the Palestinian demand in the UN General Assembly to activate its special mechanisms to investigate and dismantle the apartheid regime, including the Special Committee and Center against Apartheid, which contributed to the dismantling of the apartheid regime in South Africa in the past.
Reaffirms its full support for the Palestinian initiatives aimed at referring to the ICC the files of war crimes perpetrated by Israel’s occupation and colonial regime against the Palestinian people. It calls for supporting the Palestinian request for a legal advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice to determine the nature of the Israeli occupation as a racist settler-colonial system.
Calls for the formation of intersectional national, Arab and international alliances with movements for racial, environmental, social and other forms of justices to promote joint struggle and to contribute to:
- Establishing a global front against Israeli apartheid, and prosecuting and holding Israel accountable for its racist crimes against the Palestinian people.
- Preventing the passage of laws that prohibit or suppress freedom of expression related to advocating Palestinian rights or condemning Zionism and Israel’s colonial and racist regime, especially those repressive legislations that target the BDS movement and Palestinian civil society organizations.
Calls on progressive Jewish groups around the world to confront the frenzied attempts by Israel and the Zionist movement worldwide to induce legislation and policies that deliberately conflate the rejection of Zionism and opposition to the Israel’s regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid on the one hand with racism and hatred against Jews on the other. Since its establishment, the PLO has always distinguished between the two and built alliances with the anti-Zionist Jewish forces as an ally in the struggle against colonialism, oppression and racism in all its forms, including anti-Semitism.
Calls for the establishment of an international legal coalition of specialized human rights organizations to prosecute Israel’s occupation and its criminals in international and legal forums, based on international jurisdiction.
Calls for launching both official and popular Palestinian, Arab and international campaigns to designate the racist and fascist parties that make up the government of the settler-colonial and apartheid state of Israel as terrorist organizations and to prohibit dealing with them.
Calls for supporting and intensifying the role of official and popular Palestinian diplomacy in pressuring the UN, states and political parties worldwide to designate Israel as an apartheid state and, accordingly, to impose on it legal, military-security, commercial, financial, academic, cultural and sports sanctions, just as was done against the defunct apartheid regime in South Africa.