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ICJ’s Israel genocide decision: Historic victory for Palestinians and Global South

The historic decision by the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Israel may be violating the genocide convention is a victory for the Palestinian people, and Global South as a whole, after centuries of Western colonialism.

ICJ Israel genocide Palestinians

The International Court of Justice at the Hague made history on January 26 by stating that there is sufficient evidence to investigate allegations that Israel has committed genocide against the Palestinian people.

In the words of the UN News agency, the ICJ “declared that Palestinians had a right to be protected from acts of genocide, calling on Israel to ‘take all measures within its power’ to prevent such actions and allow the entry of desperately needed humanitarian aid into the war-shattered enclave”.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the top legal authority of the United Nations. In December, South Africa introduced a case at the ICJ that accused Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinian people as part of its brutal war on Gaza.

In its January 26 decision (PDF here), the ICJ stated that “Israel must, in accordance with its obligations under the Genocide Convention, in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of … (a) killing members of the group; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”.

The Hague emphasized that “Israel must ensure with immediate effect that its military forces do not commit any of the above-described acts”, and that “Israel must take all measures within its power to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide in relation to members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip”.

The ICJ likewise decided that “Israel must take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip”.

“Israel must also take effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence related to allegations of acts within the scope of … the Genocide Convention against members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip” the Hague added.

The ICJ ordered the Israeli government to submit a report in a month detailing how it is abiding by the court’s decision.

ICJ Israel genocide Palestinian Gaza

South Africa had initially requested that the ICJ order an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The Hague did not do so overtly. However, in effect, the court indirectly called for a ceasefire.

This is the interpretation of South Africa’s head of public diplomacy, Clayson Monyela, who wrote on Twitter, “To be clear… the ICJ has effectively ordered an immediate ceasefire and for Israel to halt military operations”.

However, many Western media outlets distorted the ICJ decision.

The New York Times provided a case study of misleading coverage, with the headline “U.N. Court Declines to Demand Israel Stop Its Military Campaign”.

NY Times ICJ UN court Israel Gaza

Similarly, The Wall Street Journal published the ridiculously skewed title “World Court Rejects Demand for Gaza Cease-Fire”.

WSJ ICJ Israel Gaza ceasefire

Palestinian journalist Ali Abunimah pushed back against critics who argued that this decision was not a victory because it did not explicitly call for a ceasefire.

The Hague “gave Israel a month to report back but it must halt all killing and other genocidal acts forthwith. Please don’t award Israel a victory it did not win”, Abunimah wrote.

Legal expert Heidi Matthews described the ICJ decision as “a big win for Palestinian advocates“, arguing “the fact that the Court ordered the measures it did, including directing Israel not to commit or incite genocide, indicates it has concluded that it is (a) plausible for Palestinians in Gaza to claim protection from genocide, and (b) that the need for protection is urgent”.

Matthews explained on Twitter: “I think we can infer from this that at a minimum there is a serious risk that Israel will commit genocide. This is important because it puts all states on formal notice of the serious risk of genocide, which triggers states’ duty to take concrete steps to prevent genocide. Among other things, this means that in order for states to fulfill their international obligations under the Genocide Convention they must do something. For e.g., states exporting arms or military technology to Israel must stop”.

The US government has continued to send billions of dollars worth of weapons to Israel throughout this war. This makes it clear that Washington is complicit in Tel Aviv’s crimes. And the Hague has implicitly stated that the US must stop arming Israel.

This ICJ decision was particularly important because it is exposing the hypocrisy of the Western governments that sponsor Israel and claim to support international law.

Israel’s far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proudly declared in a speech before the ICJ decision, “Nobody will stop us – not The Hague”.

Israel Netanyahu nobody stop us Hague

Israel boasting that it is a rogue state that will ignore the International Court of Justice made it quite difficult for its sponsors in Washington to pretend to care about international law.

This double standard was made especially ironic when the Palestinian armed group Hamas stated clearly that it would abide by a ceasefire order made by the Hague.

In short, one side – the Palestinian people, and its supporters in South Africa and most of the Global South – truly supports international law, whereas the other side – the Israeli government, and its Western sponsors – blatantly disregard and violate international law, while pretending otherwise.

Responding to the decision, the US State Department blasted South Africa’s allegations of genocide against Israel as “unfounded”, despite the fact that the ICJ stated that there is sufficient evidence for them to be investigated. That means they are the opposite of unfounded.

The Canadian government did the same. Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said that “Canada supports the ICJ’s critical role in the peaceful settlement of disputes and its work in upholding the international rules-based order”. But mere seconds later, she insisted, “Our support for the ICJ does not mean that we accept the premise of the case brought by South Africa”.

Joly then promptly asserted that “Canada will continue to support Israel’s right to exist and defend itself”.

So Ottawa claimed to support the ICJ while rejecting the ICJ’s decision and backing Israel’s brutal military assault on Gaza, which the ICJ effectively called for an end to.

Despite all of this chicanery by Western governments and the relentless pro-Israel propaganda in the corporate media, support for Tel Aviv is rapidly declining, around the world.

Slightly over one-third of people in the United States agree that Israel is committing genocide, according to a poll that was published before the historic ICJ ruling.

The Economist/YouGov survey found that 35% of North Americans believe that Israel is committing genocide, including 49% of people aged 18-29.

Even 49% of Democrats say that Israel is committing genocide, while Democratic President Joe Biden ignores his own base and steadfastly backs Israel’s assault.

Protesters have repeatedly disrupted Biden’s events, referring to him as “genocide Joe”.

This may at least partially explain why Biden’s approval rating fell to an abysmal 33% in January.



  1. Eric Arthur Blair

    2024-01-27 at 14:37

    All decent sane people support the South African case.
    But the USA ignores ICC and ICJ rulings unless it suits their agenda eg. Putin being absurdly found guilty of kidnapping Ukrainian children by the ICC, when he had in reality evacuated them from dangerous war zones, then returned them to any surviving parents.
    International Law, Shminternational Law, will be the Zionazi response to the ICJ.
    The AngloZionazis recognise only the Fools Based Order because they are the self proclaimed Exceptional Ones and the self chosen Chosen Ones.
    Let’s get this straight.
    It is OK for Israel to deny freedom of navigation to Gazan shipping on the Levantine coast (since at least 2006 – which involved killing many Gazans) on the basis of f*cking bastardry by Israel.
    However it is not OK for Yemen to deny freedom of navigation to Israeli shipping in the Red Sea (only recently – which involved killing zero Israelis) on the basis of opposing genocide by Israel.
    The response by the AngloNazis to the latter? Bomb Yemen, kill civilians. The same solution they have for everything: bomb everything, kill civilians.
    The USA, a nation founded on genocide, is the modern world’s primary sponsor/enabler of genocide (Yemen, Gaza), slavery (eg Libya) and refugee catastrophes / human displacement and suffering far worse than during WW2 (by destroying Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine etc). Those refugees fled to Western Europe, creating immense social stresses and economic pressures and the rise of right wing Fascist parties/governments.
    To Australians out there: happy Invasion Day holiday weekend: celebrating the genocidal “founding” of Oz on the basis of “Terra Nullius”, the assertion that no human beings existed there before Eurocolonisation, that the local Aborigines were just part of the Fauna.
    Same Zionazi assertion about “a land for a people for a people without a land”, asserting that no human beings existed in Palestine before 1948, only “human animals”.
    Here is the (rather creepy) artwork for my poem “Vampire Empire, Empire of Vampires” AKA The Tar Bangled Spanner:

    • Donaca-NYC

      2024-01-28 at 09:45

      Great poem and even greater sentiment. Thanks Comrade ☮️❤️☀️????????????????????????????

    • JonnyJames

      2024-01-28 at 11:57

      Great poem Eric, cheers for posting it!

      USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand (Aotearoa) the British settler-colonial states. The “five eyes” of the contemporary Anglo-American Zionist empire. I always like to ask my white brothers and sisters: “where are your people originally from?”

  2. Eric Arthur Blair

    2024-01-27 at 18:14

    *Correction: the Zionazi propagandistic slogan is actually more sickening: “a land without people for a people without land”…
    perverted thinking which completely denied, ignored and rejected the fact that the Palestinians, members of the oldest civilisations in the world, were actual people.

  3. Energieerhaltungssatz

    2024-01-28 at 09:23

    On the same day of the ICJ order, 26 January 2024, Ukraine submitted “allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” (ICJ link below). The timing is very suspicious. Letters c and d in “V THE MEASURES REQUESTED” are interesting. In letter c they are trying to avoid the endless “(mis-)interpretation” mentioned in Article 9 of the Genocide Convention and letter d is intended to prevent the court from sitting out the case. What a coincidence that the court referred to Article 9 and is trying to sit out the case of South Africa v. Israel until all Palestinians in Gaza are either dead or forcefully displaced (video on X in link).

    A few questions:

    1. Did Israel stop the genocide?
    2. Did the court order any punishment for Israel according to Art. 4 of the Genocide Convention?
    3. Did the court order Israel to introduce any necessary legislations according to Art. 5 of the Genocide Convention?
    4. Did the court order consequences for the accomplices according to Art. 3 (e) and asked why one of them is a permanent member of the UN and violates Articles 1, 2, 43 and 53 of the UN Charter?
    5. Regarding Germany in Article 53: I would like to know why the US is making arrangements directed FOR the renewal of aggressive policy of an “enemy state” instead of AGAINST it as it is stated in Art. 53?!

    If Israel does not stop it´s genocide, then South Africa can use Article 16 of the Genocide Convention and ask for more effective measures to be implemented. If the UN can´t stop genocides, then it needs an update or we need another Nuremberg trial and a new organisation.

    NATO generals are in war mode. Biden is currently trying to gain “emergency authority” under the pretext of open borders. What do you think he will do with this “emergency authority” regarding Ukraine if he gets it? The most complicit individuals, like Boris Johnson or Biden, are currently all screaming for war to avoid punishment for their crimes, just like the kings and queens did it in the Middle Ages till their heads rolled! If they are trying to freeze the conflict by walking in with NATO, then I think it´s too late for that. Why should Russia agree to another Minsk agreement and wait till they restock and repeat that BS again? They have to offer verifiable actions in advance this time with constant monitoring, not just deceptive words. And I don´t think that Russia will start talking with them if they move in first or try to stage a false flag again.

  4. JonnyJames

    2024-01-28 at 12:14

    This is good news, and bad news at the same time. As Ben outlines, the Israelis have suffered a huge PR disaster. There will likely be long-term legal consequences for Israel, and hopefully also for the US/UK (and sycophant-vassal states as well) who are cheer-leaders, enablers, funders of genocide.

    However, the US/UK and vassals have now cut funding for UNRWA. Now we’ll see if the double-talking hypocrites in Turkey, KSA, Gulf States, etc will step up and press more forcefully for supplying aid and demand an end to Nakba 3.0.

    Gaza already has multiple humanitarian crises: lack of sanitation, clean water, housing, food, health care, etc. etc. This, in addition to Israel constantly bombing the world’s largest concentration camp daily for weeks and weeks. The Genocide of Palestine is entering a new phase, and thousands more will likely die in the coming weeks. Israel plans to make Gaza uninhabitable and force everyone to leave or be mass murdered.

    Anyone who lives in the US, UK or vassal states have no room to criticize any other country or regime, past or present. The atrocities committed by the Empire and Co. have met or exceeded the worst atrocities in history. Some will think that is hyperbole, but the facts are there for those honest enough to admit it.

    It is much easier to remain in denial, and continue to believe that the US/UK are “democracies” and respect the “rule of law”. What a twisted joke that is.

  5. Cure E Us

    2024-01-29 at 03:23

    I agree with Ben’s statement that these war crimes (e.g. – genocide, impedance of: utilities, food, fresh water, medicine, housing, etc.) – perpetrated by Israel – are actually atrocities perpetrated by Israel and its sponsor: the United States. They are both complicit in these dreadful actions; but, we must remember, these actions are directed by an insidious-cabal of psychopathic people (I almost referred to them as human, but I don’t think they qualify for that modifier). Humanities’ only hope is to quell these rogue’s capacity to commandeer these horrific misdeeds. How can the U.S. (and apartheid/stockade Israel) not be strongly considered as the greatest threats to world peace?

    For more than a century, the U.S. has interfered in the internal affairs of sovereign countries (just as they are currently delegating through their proxies in Ukraine and Israel). As follows, here is an historical account of the United States’ involvement in regime change:

  6. Eric Arthur Blair

    2024-01-29 at 05:50

    Days before his murder by an Israeli targeted strike, the Palestinian poet Refaat Alareer pinned this personal epitaph:

    If I must die,
    you must live
    to tell my story
    to sell my things
    to buy a piece of cloth
    and some strings,
    (make it white with a long tail)
    so that a child, somewhere in Gaza
    while looking heaven in the eye
    awaiting his dad who left in a blaze—
    and bid no one farewell
    not even to his flesh
    not even to himself—
    sees the kite, my kite you made, flying up above
    and thinks for a moment
    an angel is there
    bringing back love
    If I must die
    let it bring hope
    let it be a tale

    • Eric Arthur Blair

      2024-01-29 at 05:53

      The Zionazis killed Refaat’s brother-in-law and cousins and brother many years ago.
      In December 2023, Refaat was taking refuge in a location with two thousand other Palestinians, then learned that the Israelis were targeting him personally. So as not to endanger thousands of others, he quietly left to stay with his sister’s family in her apartment, but Israel found out about that and killed him and his sister’s family in a targeted strike. Only that floor of that building was destroyed, the building otherwise remained intact.
      Refaat’s greatest crime was to write poetry.

      • Cure E Us

        2024-01-30 at 00:27

        Israel dehumanizes Palestinians and portrays them as barbarian, primitive and depraved. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said, “We are fighting against animals.” Presenting Palestinians in this way is an example of a strategy to try to legitimize atrocities. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims that Gaza is a “city of evil.” Netanyahu and Gallant are symptoms of the sickness of capitalist-imperialism.

        It is not necessary to understand what Palestinians say to understand them. As follows, take a brief moment (under a minute) to watch the heartfelt interview between a little Palestinian lady and her interviewer. One picture is worth a thousand words:

        Ceasefire now and support Palestinian self-determination and sovereignty.

        • Eric Arthur Blair

          2024-01-30 at 16:17

          Cure E Us:
          Agonisingly heartbreaking and gut wrenching to witness the horrific trauma and suffering afflicting a little girl like that. Multiply that tens of thousands of times. Makes you want to comfort and protect and feed and shelter them if one had the power, even shield them with your own body from incoming bombs.
          As ordinary people we are not in any situation to do that. What we can do is take to the streets to condemn the USA and Israel and/or take every opportunity to write and speak out against those vile genociders and promote BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) against the AngloEuroZioNazis.
          The Ansarallah Yemenis, the poorest people in the region, took effective action to economically harm commercial AngloZioNazi shipping, knowing they would be subject to incoming murderous bombs from those Nazis. This makes the Yemenis true heroes and exposes the AngloZionazis as true terrorists. South Africa too did a fantastic job in the ICJ, also global heroes in the fight against the DESPICABLE EVIL of the AngloEuroZioNazis whose first response was to cut hundreds of millions of dollars of humanitarian funding for the Palestinians. Atrocious, vile, reprehensible, despicable, disgusting and EVIL beyond belief. Words fail.

          • Cure E Us

            2024-01-31 at 13:28

            Eric Arthur Blair:

            From the moment I looked into this little lady’s eyes, the scene was exceedingly impactful and sobering. In fact, it seems that she occupies a place in my heart each day. I frequently wonder if she is still alive; I wonder if she has a parent, or parents; I wonder if she has any food to eat; I see the fear in her body-language; my heart goes out to her as I watch her grasp her little blanket and other items that are very important to her; I wonder where she will sleep tonight; I wonder if someone is supporting her through good-faith adult supervision; I wonder who, or what, she would like to be in her future – or even if she has a future; I wish I knew her name; I wonder if she has water to drink; I will always wish her the best.

            If someone is listening to me – and knows who she is – please tell her: algo es creo de usted, y mi amor a mi amiga de pequena!

            No a guerra ahora!

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