On Friday, January 26, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), often called the World Court, rendered a verdict on a complaint against Israel brought by South Africa. The court’s ruling: Israel should avoid acts of genocide. Solidly in the “so what” category, the decision by the UN judicial body did not explain what Israel should do when the enemy it’s fighting, Hamas, hides behind women and children and launches terrorist attacks against civilians and the IDF alike.
Israel Has a Challenge
What the ICJ failed to do is explain just how the IDF is supposed to destroy an entrenched and vicious enemy that hunkers down in the midst of civilians. The criminals in the Israel-Hamas war could not be more clearly identified: Hamas. There was no finding that Israel had committed genocide, as the South African charge claimed. The dilemma Israel faces was well put in a prominent Washington, DC, newspaper with a headline reading, “UN court orders Israel to prevent civilian deaths in Gaza, but no ceasefire.” So, keep shooting at the bad guys that hide behind Palestinian civilians; just don’t hit any of those human shields.
Reacting to the ICJ ruling, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed a television audience, stating:
“Like any country Israel has an inherent right to defend itself. The vile attempt to deny Israel this fundamental right is blatant discrimination against the Jewish state. And it was justly rejected. The charge of genocide leveled against Israel is not only false, it’s outrageous, and decent people everywhere should reject it. On the eve of the Holocaust Remembrance Day, I again pledge as Israel’s prime minister, never again. Israel will continue to defend itself against Hamas, a genocidal terror organization.”
The charge of genocide leveled at Israel in December by South Africa was met with derision by those who understand that Israel was the nation attacked by Hamas terrorists on October 7 and that the consequence is Israel defending itself. That defense has been a comprehensive and methodical military operation by the IDF to destroy Hamas’ capability to ever pose a threat to the people of Israel. Had a ceasefire been ordered and Israel complied, Hamas would have had an opportunity to reconstitute a fighting force. In a short time, Israel would be back where it was on October 6: waiting to be attacked by a determined and murderous enemy bent on Israel’s destruction.
The fact that South Africa would charge Israel with genocide is laughable, considering the problems the African nation has in its own backyard. Senator John Fetterman (D-PA), in a blinding flash of the obvious, “criticized South Africa for bringing a genocide case against Israel in the United Nations’ International Court of Justice, saying the African nation should focus on quelling unrest on its own continent,” Danielle Wallace reported on Fox News.
Israelis Have the Right to Defend Themselves
In a daily press briefing, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby commented on the ICJ ruling by reiterating that the US stands for the right of Israel to defend itself. Additionally, Kirby emphasized the need for continued humanitarian aid to the displaced Palestinians in Gaza. The persistent and arduous combat in an urban environment like the densely populated areas of northern, central, and southern Gaza makes killing Hamas terrorists while protecting innocent Palestinians a near-impossible challenge for the IDF. When the Israeli soldiers clear an area and move on, Hamas moves back into the real estate and attempts to re-establish dominance. “An Israeli Army Radio journalist similarly reported on January 16 that Hamas is trying to restore its control over the civilian population in the northern Gaza Strip, in part, by rehabilitating local police there,” the Institute for the Study of War explained.
The 17-judge ICJ ordered Israel to submit a report to the UN judicial body laying out the steps Israeli forces are taking to avoid operations on the Gaza battlefield that would have the appearance of genocide. The court echoed the death toll in Gaza bandied about by so many media outlets – 25,000 – but never bothered to explain that it’s a Hamas-generated number. If even close to correct, it includes Hamas terrorists, Palestinian militia, and civilians. The Jewish state will undoubtedly receive plenty of advice on how to accomplish the avoidance of indiscriminate killing, but Israel’s national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, made one of the more eloquent comments in a post on X regarding the ruling from the Hague-based ICJ. Ben-Gvir’s assessment was “Hague Schmague.”
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.