Australia must support South African ICJ case against Israeli genocide: APAN

Palestinian flags flying at Fed Square and supporters dancing

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) has today demanded the Australian Government issue a statement of support for South Africa’s application to the International Court of Justice against Israel on alleged genocide violations in Gaza.

APAN’s call comes as Malaysia overnight issued a statement of support for the South African ICJ claim, which alleges that the scale of death and destruction in Gaza meets the threshold of the 1948 Genocide Convention.

APAN President Nasser Mashni said the Australian Government had issued a public statement of support for Ukraine’s ICJ case against Russia in September 2023, and now had to do the same for Palestine, in a demonstration of commitment to the integrity of the Genocide Convention.

“Just as the Australian Government stated that Russia had to be held to account for its actions in Ukraine, so must Australia make a public statement that the rules-based order on genocide must apply to Israel, to stop its atrocities against the Palestinian people,” Mr Mashni said.

“We’ve heard high-ranking Israeli officials expressing genocidal intent – which has been broadcast for all the world to see – saying they intend to ‘flatten’ Gaza, and have heard propaganda inciting genocide from Israeli political and media figures.

“The Israeli Government has committed genocidal actions, killing more than 22,000 Palestinians by bombing civilian infrastructure and deliberately targeting hospitals, UN facilities, schools, and refugee camps that have been sheltering people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes.

“This is genocide, punishable by international law, and the Australian Government must uphold its responsibilities as a state party to the Genocide Convention, and act immediately.”

Mr Mashni said the Palestinian community and its allies expected to see the Australian Government apply the same standards to the Israeli killing and serious mental and bodily harm of Palestinians as it did to Russian atrocities in Ukraine.

“Only three months ago, our Foreign Minister said that Australia stood with the people of Ukraine and 31 other countries supporting Ukraine because, ‘we are stronger when we work together to address shared challenges’,” Mr Mashni said.

“There can be no double standards when it comes to international law and genocide – Australia must today stand up for the people of Palestine and work together with the international community to put an end to Israeli genocide.”

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.

ICJ genocide ruling must end Australian support for Israeli impunity

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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