January 26, 2024
Philos Project Statement on ICJ RulingBack to All
by Josefa Gonzalez
The Philos Project welcomes the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) rejection of South Africa’s request to force a ceasefire on Israel as Israel defends its citizens against the genocidal actions of Hamas. The UN Charter (Article 2) clearly affirms every state’s right to protect itself. In that regard, the ICJ got it right today.
However, we express disappointment with the ICJ’s determination that South Africa provided sufficient evidence and established plausibility that Israel’s military actions in Gaza are capable of falling within the provisions of violating the Genocide Convention. In doing so, the Court established jurisdiction pursuant to Article 9 of the Convention to entertain the case and denied Israel’s request for dismissal.
The Philos Project upholds that South Africa has no standing and that political ambitions fuel any charge of genocide. Politicizing the charge of genocide to undermine a country’s right to self-determination is a slippery slope. We warn this could set a dangerous precedent for future cases brought before the ICJ.
As we approach International Holocaust Remembrance Day, it is important to point out that the charge of genocide against Israel under these circumstances is more than absurd – it is unconscionable. Genocide involves the intentional destruction of a people, in part or in whole, based on national, ethnic, racial, or religious grounds.
Israel’s military actions in Gaza are not a genocide but an attempt to prevent one. We echo the sentiments of Israel’s defense before the court; the loss of innocent Palestinian lives is a regrettable and wholly undesirable part of armed conflict. Israel as a sovereign nation is rightly defending itself in a war started by Hamas and its patrons in Iran and Qatar.
While we praise today’s decision, we urge the ICJ, the UN, and other intergovernmental organizations to go further and to hold the Hamas perpetrators, both leaders and militants, accountable for the genocidal massacre and gender-based violence of October 7th which have gone uninvestigated by the UN to date – the worst atrocities committed against the Jewish people since the Holocaust. Justice will only be done when pressure is applied on Hamas, Iran, and Qatar to release the 136 Israeli hostages still held captive in Gaza.