Israeli aggression and genocide must halt

EditorialProthom Alo illustration

Since 8 October last year the occupying Israeli forces have been indiscriminately killing people in Gaza. No protest, contempt or call from the international community is able to stop them. The death toll there has surpassed 26,000 already with majority of them being women and children.

Under this circumstance, every single peace-loving citizen of the world had their eyes on International Court of Justice (ICJ) trial held in Hague of the Netherlands. The Palestinians had been demonstrating in front of the court till the minute before the verdict was read out.

ICJ has directed Israel to take steps to prevent the genocide in Gaza. At the same time, facilitate “urgently needed” humanitarian aid into the besieged territory, handing down rulings in a case that has drawn global attention.

At the same time, it has also given a direction to take measures necessary to overcome the humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip devastated by indiscriminate attacks. And the court has ordered to inform within a month about what measures have been taken. This was an interim order and it will take several years to receive the complete order.

Notably, South Africa, the country that was once plagued by racism, filed a case at the international court on 29 December, 2023 accusing of genocide in Gaza. The hearing of the case was held on 11 and 12 January where the advocates on South Africa’s side called for emergency step to stop the war in Gaza. Meanwhile, Israel as always has denied the allegation of genocide.

We had expected that the International Court of Justice would directly order Israel to stop the genocide. They didn’t say that but even after that this ruling against Israel is extremely significant.

International Court of Justice president Joan Donoghue stated in the interim verdict that Israel has to take steps to stop activities that can be ruled as genocide. In fact the country has also been asked to refrain from passing comments that can instigate genocide there.

Israel’s expansion policy and war frenzy not only displaced millions of Palestinians from their homeland but has also created an extreme humanitarian crisis in Gaza. When ICJ was calling for necessary measures to prevent genocide, Israel was still wreaking havoc in Gaza at that very moment.

Following ICJ’s ruling, Palestinians have expressed their excitement. Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki and pro-liberation Palestine organisation Hamas have welcomed the verdict. On the other hand, Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied genocide allegations. They are trying to cover up their misdeeds with excuse of self-defense.

But these warmonger rulers should know that the right to self-defense does not mean carrying out military operations in a territory and killing innocent people including children and women there. Nor does it mean raiding hospitals and pushing people undergoing treatment towards death.

The state that has been exercising brutality on the people of Palestine, would not willingly comply with this ruling. The state of Israel did not assume the role of an anti-civilization monster overnight. They had been receiving money as well as arms from the western powers especially from the United States since the very beginning.

But now the Israeli rulers have turned so arrogant that they aren’t even paying heed to the United States. In fact Tel Aviv is also opposing the two-state policy announced as the solution to the Middle East crisis by US secretary of state Anthony Blinken recently.

Despite having many limitations to it, we welcome the International Court of Justice’s ruling and we would like to say that just as it has unmasked Israel it will increase the moral pressure as well. Hopefully, all peace-loving people and countries of the world will take a stronger stance to stop the Israeli aggression and genocide in Gaza.

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