Last night, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) put Israel on notice for genocide, ordering that the state implement provisional measures to prevent genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

The essence of this finding is that the court believes that Israel may be guilty of genocide and as such has ordered that it ends all acts which are in breach of its duty to prevent genocide.

This finding concurs with the experiences of Palestinians in Gaza as they struggle to survive a litany of abuses by Israel that threaten their very existence. In this finding we also hear echoes of the repeated warnings from UN experts, humanitarian organisations and civil society groups that Israel’s violence will cause irreparable harm, requiring an urgent and concerted international response.

As a result of this hearing, there is now a binding international legal order for Israel to take steps to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza, to allow humanitarian aid access, to preserve evidence of actions impacting the Genocide Convention and to submit a report of the measures it has taken to follow the court’s orders within one month.

These findings have immediate implications for the Australian Government. Senator Penny Wong is recently quoted as saying, “we respect the independence of the ICJ. We respect the critical role it plays in upholding international law and the rules-based order.”

With the court finding that there is a plausible case for genocide, and with Australia a party to the Genocide Convention, we must do everything in our power to prevent a genocide. This must include the immediate demand for a ceasefire, the immediate cessation of any military aid or assistance Australia might be offering Israel, the immediate call for unfettered delivery of humanitarian aid, and the identification of and advice to all Australian citizens fighting in the Israel Defense Force that their actions may be contributing to genocidal acts and other international crimes.

The only way that Israel can feasibly abide by the ruling of the ICJ is to immediately stop its war on the Palestinians in Gaza.

Should Israel not immediately comply with this ICJ ruling we call on the Australian Government to distance itself from any US veto in the UN Security Council, publicly condemn Israel, implement targeted sanctions, suspend all military and intelligence cooperation and immediately recognise the state of Palestine.

For decades, Israel has defied, obstructed and vilified the ideals of humanity and justice. It has perpetrated its crimes in the open and without consequence, aided and abetted by a compliant West. This is what has empowered it to unleash its racist fury, resulting in this genocide in Gaza.

Palestinians and their supporters are deeply grateful to the South African legal team for the diligence, dignity and humanity with which it argued its case, and the fact that its efforts have resulted in the most direct challenge to Israel’s impunity that we have seen.

About the author

Formed in May 2011, Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) harnesses the passion of Australians to advocate for Australian policy to support Palestinian human rights, justice, and equality.

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