South Africa charges Israel with genocide

By Monica Moorehead
January 2, 2024

The South African government filed a historic case against apartheid Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), accusing the settler-colonial regime of crimes of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza after nearly three months of indiscriminate Israeli bombardment, which has massacred more than 21,000 civilians, including at least 10,000 children.

The hearing is scheduled for Jan. 11.

March in Cape Town, South Africa, Oct. 22, 2023.

This racist aggression has caused widespread destruction in what is considered the largest open-air prison in the world and one of the most densely populated areas. Close to 2 million Palestinians have been displaced, resulting in widespread hunger and diseases.

In an 84-page application to the ICJ on Dec. 29, South Africa described Israel’s actions in Gaza as “genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group” (

The South African government feels a particularly close political affinity with the plight of the Palestinian people, having fought a decades-long heroic national liberation struggle of their own against a white supremacist, apartheid state that ended in a legal overthrow of that fascistic regime back in the early 1990s.

The ICJ has had a sordid history of either ruling on behalf of imperialist governments and their puppets such as Israel against oppressed and/or sovereign governments, or to censor genuine complaints such as the one South Africa just filed. Even though the ICJ has not formally responded to the complaint to date, Israel felt compelled to respond right away, falsely labeling it as being “antisemitic”.

Two Palestinian resistance groups praised the South African complaint on Dec. 30 — Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — that were republished on the Resistance News Network. Their lightly edited short statements are below:

Hamas: We highly appreciate South Africa’s initiative to file a request in the International Court of Justice to commence investigations against the criminal “Israeli” entity for committing the genocide against our Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

South Africa’s move is an important step towards holding the leaders of the entity, the criminals of our age, accountable for the most heinous massacres known to humanity in our contemporary history. We call on all nations to submit similar files and requests to the competent criminal courts, both national and international, against this Nazi entity, as it poses a threat to international peace and security, and to ensure that it does not escape punishment for the brutal crimes committed against children and unarmed civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Central Media Department: The PFLP calls for everyone to follow this step in prosecuting the leaders of the occupation and all those who colluded with them. The PFLP welcomed South Africa’s submission of a request to the International Court of Justice to bring a lawsuit against the “Israeli” entity for committing acts of genocide against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

The Front again praised the advanced positions of South Africa, which it has taken since the beginning of the aggression, whether in its political and diplomatic steps or its widespread popular movement, stressing the need for these positions to be emulated by all countries of the world that stand by our people and condemn the Zionist war of genocide and adopt stances different from some of the countries that are complicit and partnering with the entity in these crimes.

The Front concluded on the importance of South Africa’s step to put an end to the Zionist crimes of genocide against civilians, health facilities, services, and infrastructure, and to prosecute the leaders of the Zionist occupation as war criminals in international courts for the unprecedented crimes and massacres they committed, emphasizing the need for this trial to include all the leaders of countries who provided protection, cover, financial and arms support, and political backing to the “Israeli” entity.