EU silent South Africa genocide case against Israel
South Africa sues Israel for genocide in Gaza at ICJ. EU remains mostly silent. Israel's allies criticize, while some support.
A groundbreaking lawsuit against Israel is entering its second day at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). South Africa filed the case last month, alleging that Israel's siege of Gaza constitutes genocide and violates the 1948 Genocide Convention. This convention gives party countries, including Israel and South Africa, the right to prevent and stop genocide, defined as acts intended to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.
This case is significant as it marks the first time Israel is defending its war campaign in Gaza before a court of law since the conflict began. Israel was established to provide security for Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, making the criminal charge highly symbolic. However, ICJ cases typically take years before a ruling is reached. South Africa has requested the Court to provisionally call for a ceasefire to alleviate suffering in Gaza, where over 23,000 people have been killed.
Israel has vowed to contest the case, calling it "blood libel," and has received criticism from its Western allies, the United Kingdom and the United States. In contrast, other countries, including Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Jordan, Malaysia, the Maldives, Turkey, Venezuela, and the Organization of Islamic Countries, have formally supported the move.
The European Union (EU), which has struggled to mediate in the Israel-Hamas war due to its member states' differing positions, has largely remained silent on the case. While the EU supports the ICJ, it has refrained from backing the genocide case against Israel. The EU has called for humanitarian pauses to ensure aid reaches civilians in Gaza but has not collectively called for a ceasefire.
Many EU countries have expressed skepticism about the case, including Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Germany's Vice Chancellor stated that while the Israeli army's actions in Gaza can be criticized, they do not constitute genocide. Austria and the Czech Republic have opposed politicizing the ICJ.
Hungary has explicitly condemned South Africa's ICJ case, denouncing it as a "legal attack launched against Israel." The country's foreign minister stated that accusing Israel of genocide is nonsense and that the world should support anti-terrorist operations to prevent future attacks.
Belgium's Deputy Prime Minister has expressed support for South Africa's case, while Ireland and Spain have refrained from commenting. Human Rights Watch has urged the EU to back the ICJ case, emphasizing the importance of justice and accountability in the context of the conflict in Gaza.