The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

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Israel accused of genocide in the International Court

©HAWKEYE image credit: Charli Gilchrist

South Africa instituted a case against Israel for genocidal acts against the Gaza Strip in the wake of attacks on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023.
These alleged acts violate the laws of the International Court of Justice’s 1948 genocide convention. The International Court of Justice, or the ICJ, is the UN’s top court, settling legal disputes between states under international law and interpreting and applying said law to facts, although the court is unable to prosecute or convict individuals.

The 1948 Genocide Convention gives the ICJ the ability to rule on disputes over the laws in the treaty, but also obligates states to prevent genocide, which is where the basis of South Africa’s case lies.
The 84-page case from South Africa accusing Israel of violating the 1948 Genocide Convention also calls for an immediate cease fire to the assault on Gaza, which has killed more than 20,000 Palestinians since the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7.

The hearings for South Africa’s case took place on Jan. 11, starting off with South Africa’s case.

©Hawkeye Image credit: Charli Gilchrist

The hearing assessed whether the case was strong enough to issue measures to “protect against further, severe, and irreparable harm” to Palestinians.

The case starts off with Adila Hassim detailing Israel’s violations of the Genocide Convention, which included mass killings and serious bodily harm inflicted onto Palestinians in Gaza and refuge camps, unlivable conditions in Gaza that are meant to cause physical destruction, a military assault on Gaza’s healthcare system, and a rapture of violence focused on women and girls.

These crimes were facilitated through 6,000 bombs being dropped in the first three weeks following Oct. 7, with South Africa claiming that “Israel had full knowledge of how many civilian lives each bomb will take.”
South Africa’s main goal when bringing the genocide case to the ICJ is to prove it has a plausible case for genocide, and that Israel’s attacks on Gaza have the intent to specifically target Palestinians to deliberately destroy the group. South African lawyer and legal scholar Tembeka Ngcukaitobi was tasked to prove this overwhelming genocidal intent through evidence from Israeli leaders, politicians, and army officers.

Israel had full knowledge of how many civilian lives each bomb would take.

— Adila Hassim, South African advocate

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel acts as an example of this, emphasizing to soldiers “to remember what Amalek has done to you,” referring to a biblical command that calls for the destruction of an entire group of people. Yoav Gallant, the Israeli Minister of Defense, also called for a complete siege on Gaza, blocking any resources in the name of “fighting human animals.” Giora Eiland, a celebrated general, demanded that countries should not send humanitarian aid to Gaza and presented Gazans with two choices: “to stay and starve or leave.”

South Africa argued that the claims made by Israeli leaders are directly linked to the behavior of the Israeli troops, using videos of Israeli soldiers dancing and claiming that “there are no uninvolved citizens.”
Israel presented their defense against the acts presented in the case on the following day, Jan 12. Israeli legal advisor Tal Becker presented in front of the court representing Israel and claiming that due to Jewish history and the Holocaust, Israel would not commit these crimes.

The temptation to reach for the most outrageous term to vilify and demonize has become, for many, irresistable.

— Tal Becker, Israeli advocate

He stated that “given the Jewish history it is not surprising that Israel would be the first states to ratify the genocide convections… For some the promise of ‘never again’ is a slogan, for Israel it is the highest moral obligation.”
Becker also claimed that the only reason Israel has done anything since Oct. 7 to defend themselves against Hamas, stating that “the applicant has now chosen to invoke this term in the context of Israel’s conduct in a war it did not start and did not want, a war in which Israel is defending itself against Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist organization whose brutalist knows no bounds. The entirety of this case hinges on a deliberately curated decontextualized and manipulative description of the reality of current hostilities.”
Becker said that South Africa is not concerned about civilians, but instead focusing on villainizing Israel. “The court has made it clear these charges are not about the protection of civilians.” Becker went on to claim that South Africa is shifting their view away from Hamas and towards Israel and the IDF, “Hamas responsibility for the situation in Gaza are removed from view.”
Israel’s defense claims that the main cause for their actions is due to the attack on Hamas, storming into Israeli communities killing around 1,200 and taking many hostage.
Israeli representatives focused on the actions of Hamas. Becker claimed that the media has warped the actions of Israel and many have unrightfully vilified Israel in the public light. “We live at a time when words are cheap in an age of social media and identity politics. The temptation to reach for the most outrageous term to vilify and demonize has become, for many, irresistible.” Israel presented in court their own efforts to protect civilians by issuing evacuations before strikes. Israel blames the majority of the death toll on Hamas’s actions.
The ICJ solidified its ruling on Jan. 26, concluding that South Africa’s claim that Israel violated the genocide convention is plausible

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About the Contributors
Halle Connell
Halle Connell, News Editor
Halle Connell has been working with and studying journalism for 3 years and has produced many well-received articles and videos to different school news outlets. She mainly focuses on world news and is very interested in political and social issues. She has worked with many students in the past to get opinions of the people and not just news anchors. Halle is very interested in social justice and working to educate the world on the topics many people are not willing to talk about. Halle plans to attend college to get a degree in journalism or psychology. She is currently studying French and hopes to study abroad in France one day.
Efrata Solomon
Efrata Solomon, Photo Editor
Photo Editor Efrata Solomon is a junior at MTHS and in her second year of journalism. She joined journalism in order to engage more with school activities and find a community of like-minded people, as well as learn about newspaper production. Outside of journalism, Efrata hopes to pursue a career in forensic biotechnology to exonerate those wrongfully convicted. She also participates in TSA, HOSA, Girls Who Code, orchestra and NHS, and her hobbies include completing puzzles, reading, hiking, going to local concerts, thrifting, and spending her money on overpriced boba.
Charli Gilchrist
Charli Gilchrist, Graphics Editor
Charli Gilchrist joined HSM to learn more about journalism and continue from where they had left off in journalism from middle school. They have no specific role but hope to help out the paper with graphic design as much as they can. In their free time, they usually enjoy studying clouds, listening to music, and scrolling through Pinterest. They plan on going to a university of the arts after graduation, but for now they can enjoy contributing to the school paper.
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