South Africa — The secretariat of the Climate Justice Coalition gives its full and unequivocal support to South Africa in its application against Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the ongoing genocide in Gaza. The application was filed in December after three months of relentless Israeli bombing, which has killed over 22000 Palestinians and caused widespread destruction and terror in the besieged Gaza strip. In an earlier statement, the Coalition condemned the actions of the Israeli government, with the support of the US and other western powers against the Palestinians.
Climate justice is not possible in a world where we ignore ongoing genocides and settler-colonial projects. A future of climate justice is a future where we disrupt and uproot systems of oppression wherever we find them. From West Papua to the Congo to Sudan to Palestine, we support struggles for land back and just distribution of resources and call out the roles of oppressive governments, especially in the global north, in facilitating colonialism and imperialism globally. Palestine, just like apartheid South Africa did, requires our solidarity and our endless efforts in ensuring that justice prevails.
In addition to the egregious violence, suffering, and human rights violations caused by the war, a recent report by the Climate and Community Project highlights the immense climate change-causing pollution the war has created. The estimated emissions from the first 60 days of Israel’s war on Gaza and to rebuild the damage done, are estimated to be greater than the annual emissions of over 30 countries. The report approximates that the vast majority (99%) of the estimated climate pollution from the first 60 days can be attributed to Israel’s aerial bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza – roughly equivalent to keeping 75 coal-fired power plants operating for a year. This war, like any war, is a major contributor to climate change, and so on those grounds and many others, we stand against this and all war.
This statement responds to a call made by BDS Africa, part of the Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Coordinating Committee (PAACC), which urged South African organisations and unions to show their support for the application. The CJC echoes the call of the (PAACC) urging all States Party to the Genocide Convention to urgently and fully support the proceedings and in particular, the request by South Africa for provisional measures. We call for an immediate ceasefire, and the implementation of all measures to prevent genocide, including the rescinding of military orders forcing the transfer of Palestinians in Gaza, and practices denying access to adequate food, water, fuel and humanitarian supplies. We further call for the end to the occupation and a free Palestine in our lifetimes.
About the ICJ Case
At the end of December last year, South Africa launched a case at the ICJ accusing Israel’s military campaign in Gaza of genocide. In the 84-page application, South Africa affirmed that “Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza.” South Africa has requested the ICJ to indicate provisional measures in order to protect Palestinian rights from “further, severe and irreparable harm.” The application says Israel’s actions “are genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part” of the Palestinians in Gaza.
South Africa asks the ICJ for a series of legally binding rulings. First, to declare that Israel “has breached and continues to breach its obligations under the Genocide Convention,” and then to order Israel to cease hostilities in Gaza that could amount to breaches of the convention. It also asks that Israel be ordered to offer reparations, and provide for reconstruction of what it’s destroyed in Gaza.
The application points out that genocidal acts include killing Palestinians, causing serious mental and bodily harm, and deliberately inflicting conditions meant to “bring about their physical destruction as a group.” It also details the various statements by Israeli officials which express genocidal intent. South Africa argues that the court has jurisdiction because both countries are signatories of the Genocide Convention. Article 9 of the Convention states that disputes between nations over the Convention can be submitted to the International Court of Justice. The full application is attached here.
South Africa will present their arguments today, 11 January, at 11:00 – 13:00 (CAT), while Israel will respond on 12 January. Live stream will be available: https://webtv.un.org/en
Issued by the secretariat of the Climate Justice Coalition.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
About the Climate Justice Coalition: The Climate Justice Coalition is a coalition of South African trade unions, civil society, grassroots and community-based organisations working together on advancing a transformative climate justice agenda, which tackles the inequality, poverty and unemployment that pervades South Africa.