ICJ Verdict: Calls for Unconditional Release of Hostages and Acknowledged Israel’s Right to Defend Itself

Today’s ruling by the International Court of Justice should end South Africa’s politically motivated and legally tenuous case against Israel. 

The Court noted that only following Hamas’s atrocities on October 7, 2023, did Israel launch a military operation to remove the terrorist threat to its civilian population. Israel’s obligation to defend its citizens is well established in international law. Equally important, the Court called for the unconditional release of Israeli hostages. 

As the world witnessed, Israeli leaders provided advance notice to all citizens of Gaza before launching any military actions and alerted the Gazan population on many subsequent occasions throughout the engagement.  At every opportunity, Israeli leaders repeatedly proclaimed that Israel’s campaign was targeted at Hamas terrorists, not the civilian population. No Israeli leader with responsibility for military operations ever suggested otherwise. 

For decades, Hamas has intentionally put the people of Gaza in harm’s way by operating in, around, and under civilian buildings and infrastructure, including schools and hospitals. Further, video footage shows Hamas members stealing humanitarian aid and shooting innocent Gaza civilians as they try to obtain food and water.  

Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and their supporters murdered, mutilated, tortured, and raped innocent Israeli men, women, and children, from babies to the elderly, on October 7th. Those whom they didn’t kill, they took back to Gaza as hostages. 

Ironically,  South Africa’s case sought to unilaterally strip Israel of its right, established in its UN Charter and under international law, to defend itself against this threat. 

Falsely leveling the charge of genocide against Israel, the world’s sole Jewish state, was cynical and destructive. It trivialized and politicized the most heinous of crimes, one that is called, “the crime of all crimes.”  Sadly, South Africa brought the accusation of genocide by Israel to the ICJ as a leading participant in the shameful and long-running campaign to demonize, delegitimize, and ultimately destroy the State of Israel. 

ELNET will continue to work with European and Israeli leaders to advance the truth and call out the political misuse of international bodies.