Arabs Divided on ICJ Ruling

The liberal Arab camp thinks the ICJ ruling will lead to a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian question, while the popular camp has lost faith in international organizations, including the ICJ

Israel will forever be stained with the label of genocide and its supporters will always be accused of supporting genocide after the International Court of Justice ruled last month that there was prima facie evidence to put Israel on trial for genocide. 

Even powerful foreign lobbies will find it difficult to remove the stigma. This is not lost on U.S. citizens who have spent untold millions of dollars and have heard too many lies to continue supporting an image of moral superiority. 

If an Arab country rather than South Africa had brought the charge of genocide, the U.S., and other Israel supporters would have easily dismissed it, pointing to a sordid record of human rights violations and repression by that government.  

But this was South Africa which, given its own record of human rights adherence since the end of apartheid, and high standards of democracy and equality embedded in the South African constitution, has emerged as a moral leader not only of developing countries but of the world.  South Africa is a moral superpower, while the U.S. has been reduced to a mere bully.

South Africa now leads the “Free World”  and not the U.S., NATO and its coalition of former colonial powers.  South Africa is the new superpower, without nuclear weapons. Its soft power is not the same as America’s, which camouflages naked aggression and the subjugation of other countries. 

Arabs Divided

There are two camps on ICJ ruling in the Arab world. The liberal intellectuals who are funded by Gulf despots and/or NATO governments/Soros insist that Arabs should never abandon their belief in the “international community” (a code word for the genocide axis of NATO) and in international law and human rights.

It is essential for this camp to push Arabs away from belief in the efficacy of armed struggle and resistance. It wants to undermine resistance movements in the Middle East by maintaining that there is a “peace process” and that the West — yet again — is serious this time about reaching a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian issue. The camp regards the ICJ ruling as yet another opportunity to reach justice peacefully through international organizations.

The other camp, which speaks more for free Arab public opinion, regard the notion of international law and human rights as tools and even Western government tricks to solidify their domination over people of the South.

They want to tranquilize and delude them into thinking justice can be restored through international fora. The fact that a month after the ICJ ruling, Israel continues its genocide in Gaza, and Western governments continue to endorse and sponsor it is testimony to the limitations and even the impotence of international organizations.

Hamas’ Popularity

The rise of the Hamas phenomenon is a manifestation of the popularity of belief in armed struggle. Arabs have spent years suffering from Israeli aggression and occupation while being deceived by the presence of a so-called “peace process” that would solve the Palestinian problem.

Many Arabs on the other hand are celebrating the World Court’s denigration of Israel by pinning the genocide label onto its war on Gaza.

And for the first time, genocidal statements by Israeli leaders (those statements go back to even before the founding of the apartheid state) are being used as legal evidence of intent to commit genocide under international law.

But Arabs are accustomed to the U.S. shielding Israel from all forms of international legal accountability. From the U.N. General Assembly Partition Plan of 1947 — when the U.S. bullied and bribed other countries to produce the desirable vote (see Walid Khalidi, From Haven to Conquest) — to the recent court order in The Hague, the U.S. usually resorts to bribery, trickery, pressure, intimidation and threats of sanctions against states and individuals to get what it wants.

Participants arriving for a special meeting in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on Nov. 29, 2023. Photo: UN Photo / Mark Garten.

It didn’t escape Arab attention that not a single Arab state dared submit the petition to the World Court because they feared the wrath of the U.S. and its subservient Western allies. Jordan initially expressed willingness to issue a supportive document at The Hague but later seemed to equivocate, according to this report.  

Even the Palestinian Authority (which relies on NATO governments’ funding and Israeli-collected tax revenues) obediently followed U.S. orders regarding the PA’s repeated threats to challenge Israel in international institutions and fora.  

Arabs have been jubilant that Israel finally earned its genocide marks, even if the court did not rule that Israel has indeed committed acts of genocide. But that the court requested that Israel prevent the occurrence of genocide and to submit a report in that regard after a month, indicates that a country that was declared by David Ben-Gurion to be “a light unto the nations” is now regarded as a moral pariah — perhaps not by Western governments but by most developing countries and large swaths of Western public opinion.  

State reactions to South Africa vs. Israel at the ICJ. Photo: Alonso Gurmendi / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain.

The Tide Has Turned

When I first came to the U.S., all demographic segments of the American population identified with Israel over the Palestinians by a ratio of 6-or-7-to-1.  Today, the youth of the U.S. are split in support between Hamas and Israel. Those numbers were unthinkable only 40 years ago.

The South African case against Israel broke through a thick wall of Western protection of Israel. It is a precedent that can’t be reversed.  Israel won’t be able to wash off the stigma of genocide, no matter how many resolutions are produced by the U.S. Congress. People around the world understand that Congress is subservient to AIPAC.   

South Africa stood up against U.S. hegemony and opened the road for China, down the road, to muster more courage in standing up to U.S. control of international organizations.  

Yet, there is a need for caution.  Firstly, the ruling did not make much sense.  It cautioned Israel against perpetrating genocide, but it did not call for a ceasefire.  It also left it for Israel to report on its own genocide.  Genocide is too serious a breach of international law that the court should have assigned a special, outside commission to adjudicate the matter and not leave it to the goodwill of Israel.  

Despite South Africa’s courage and the ICJ’s willingness to investigate the charge, Israel was protected by the Western coalition that ludicrously maintained that the statements of Israeli officials (in which clear genocidal intent was registered) should be dismissed because they did not represent official policy.  

Imagine if the Nazi statements about Jews were dismissed at Nuremberg because this or that Nazi official did not represent official policy.  Certainly, the president of Israel and the minister of defense are much higher in the echelons of the government hierarchy than Eichmann was in the Nazi regime. 

The ruling is just one more sign that the international order set up by the U.S. after the collapse of the U.S.S.R. is coming apart before our eyes.  The system of Western hegemony and injustice must be dismantled for the sake of world peace and justice, and only the Republic of South Africa could muster the courage to breach it.  Even China and Russia fell short of this.   

South Africa’s representatives on left, Israel’s on right, 15 judges in foreground on Jan. 11 during public hearings at the World Court in The Hague, Netherlands, on genocide charges against Israel. Photo: International Court of Justice.

For propaganda purposes, the U.S. throws the charge of genocide against its enemies even when no evidence exists.  No Arab, indeed no reasonable human being, would ever take seriously the U.S. charge that China has been committing genocide against Muslims.  

In Gaza, we now have clear photographic evidence of genocide. We “know it when we see it” in the words of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart on pornography.  

The preliminary ruling by the ICJ (the final ruling may take months and years, with the U.S. working to make sure it doesn’t come sooner) is a political milestone, not an international juridical one.

On Goes the Killing

The genocide in Gaza continues unbated after the ruling and the Israeli government — by virtue of unconditional Western support — does not show any restraint whatever in the wake of the ruling.  

But South Africa showed that the West is not the world’s destiny: the Western monopoly over international morality has to end for the sake of the people of the world.  The U.S. and Israel (and the rest of the genocide coalition) are not happy with the verdict as the U.S. continues to officially oppose a ceasefire in the name of Israeli self-defense.  

Will the ruling make Arabs, and people of developing countries in general, more amenable to resorting to international justice? 

That is highly unlikely especially since the court did not devise a mechanism to halt the war of aggression, not that it has the power to do that. It is the International Criminal Court that was established to compensate for the ICJ’s lack of implementation powers of the ICJ, and the ICC, by virtue of U.S. bullying, has been dormant throughout this war.  

South Africa took its lead from the brave Palestinians of Gaza.  Their message: it is high time to change the world.

Main photo: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa arriving in Cairo for a. peace summit on Oct. 21, 2023 © GovernmentZA / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0.

Source: Consortium News.

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