S. Africa genocide lawsuit against Israel ‘crucial’ to restore Palestinian rights: Egypt’s NCHR

Ahram Online , Friday 12 Jan 2024

National Council of Human Rights (NCHR) President Moushira Khattab praised the lawsuit filed by South Africa against Israel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for committing genocide in Gaza, describing it as a “crucial” step towards restoring Palestinian rights.

 Moshira Khattab
Ambassador Moshira Khattab, Egypt s candidate to the post of the director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)


In the trial’s initial session on Thursday, South Africa asked judges to impose binding preliminary orders on Israel, including an immediate halt to the military campaign in Gaza which reached its 97th day.

South African lawyers told the ICJ that the latest Gaza war is part of a decades-long oppression of the Palestinians by Israel.

“The lawsuit is a well-constructed, thought-out move from South Africa,” Khattab told the Egyptian news agency MENA on Friday.

Khattab said she was not surprised by the step as she witnessed during her tenure as a former Egyptian ambassador to South Africa a “steadfast” commitment from South Africa to human rights, particularly since it suffered from apartheid.

South Africa supported the struggle of the Palestinian people honestly and faithfully, not caring about any potential repercussions or threats, she added.

Israel, Khattab noted, will try to impose pressure to evade accountability for its actions in Gaza.

South Africa, however, had already prepared a “comprehensive” lawsuit with strong evidence such as public statements by Israeli officials, including the prime minister and other occupation officials, she added.

South Africa's 84-page document submitted to the ICJ described Israel's actions as “genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part" of the Palestinians in Gaza.

It asked the ICJ for a series of legally binding rulings declaring that Israel is breaching "its obligations under the Genocide Convention," and ordering Israel to cease hostilities, offer reparations, and provide for the reconstruction of all it has destroyed in Gaza.

The NCHR chief said what Israel committed in Gaza such as deporting civilians to areas prone to bombing, targeting hospitals, and cutting off electricity and water constitute war crimes and flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Khattab called on all democratic nations to support the Palestinians in obtaining their full rights, stressing the necessity to implement the two-state solution and establish a fully sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

“Failure to do so will represent a serious setback to the human rights system in the world and would lead to more violence in many parts of the world,” she warned.

Khattab also praised Egypt’s rejection of the Palestinians' displacement, its efforts to confront the Israeli obstacles hindering the delivery of humanitarian aid, and its mediation endeavours to stop the fighting.

Khattab stressed that Israel seeks to liquidate the Palestinian cause, deprive the Palestinian people of their right to self-determination, and prevent the establishment of an independent state.

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