The newly-formed International Coalition to Stop Genocide in Palestine (ICSGP) issued a sign-on letter* on January 3, 2024 that garnered over 800 organizational endorsements from around the world in less than one week. In addition to the initiating organizations noted here, signing organizations represent broad social movements, including World March of Women and the International People’s Assembly, Palestinian-led and Palestinian solidarity movements such as Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions and the Palestinian NGO Network, as well as human rights and legal groups, unions, and religious organizations of all faiths. La Via Campesina is also among the signatories.
“It is important for La Via Campesina to support the South African initiative. What is happening in Palestine is an atrocity. In particular, the use of starvation as a weapon of war is part of a strategy of genocide that we need to denounce. The expulsion of farmers and land grabs in Gaza as well as the West Bank, is also part of a strategy of ethnic cleansing,” said Morgan Ody of the Confédération Paysanne (France) and General Coordinator of La Vía Campesina International. “La Via Campesina calls upon the governments of the world, and in particular progressive governments and those in the Global South, to do everything in their power to stop Israel’s apartheid and colonization. Those governments have the responsibility to coordinate their efforts in order to ensure a future for Palestine and for all Palestinian people, and to make sure that those responsible for Israel’s crimes against humanity are held accountable.”
The coalition letter urges all signing organizations to press their “governments to immediately file a Declaration of Intervention in support of the South African case against Israel at the International Court of Justice to stop the killing in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” So far, Malaysia and Turkiye, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which represents 57 member countries on four continents, have publicly supported South Africa’s case. Jordan reports that it intends to take the more legally substantive step of submitting a Declaration of Intervention. Members of ICGSP are working closely with a number of other countries that are in the process of doing the same.
“The South African filing before the ICJ marks a critical juncture which tests the global will to salvage the laws and systems which were designed to safeguard not merely human rights; but to preserve humanity itself,” emphasizes Lamis Deek, co-founder of The Global Legal Alliance for Palestine and the PAL Commission on War Crimes. “Genocide is the highest crime and none has been so publicly documented as the Israeli Genocide in Palestine. The sincerity of states’ commitment to the principles of the Geneva and Genocide Conventions is now under heavy scrutiny. The very least states can do is to submit Declarations of Intervention as a small part of fulfilling their obligations under Article 1 of the Genocide Convention, to assure their people—and humanity—that they have lost neither their moral compass nor abdicated their obligations under international law.
The sign-on letter states:
“Many countries have rightly expressed their horror at the State of Israel’s genocidal actions, war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed against Palestinians. Israeli Occupying Forces have bombed hospitals, residences, United Nations refugee centers, schools, places of worship and escape routes, killing and injuring tens of thousands of Palestinians since October 7, 2023. More than half of the dead are women and children. Israeli leaders have made brazenly genocidal statements openly declaring their intention to permanently and completely displace Palestinians from their own land.”
Despite the clear evidence of genocidal actions being committed daily by Israeli Occupying Forces, the State of Israel is actively soliciting nations to deny its atrocities and denounce South Africa’s case. At this moment, the United States, a major backer of the Israeli State that has vetoed three resolutions calling for a ceasefire in the United Nations Security Council, stands alone in denying that Israel is committing genocide.
Edith Ballantyne, former Secretary General and International President of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, warns, “I write from my personal experience over ten decades, spanning two world wars and living through fascism, with the absolute conviction that the basis of the conflict must be solved in a legal, political and non-violent way as the only means to achieve permanent peace desperately needed by the world’s peoples and for the survival of our planet.” She adds, “Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom was involved in the Middle East conflict since the 1920s when it recognized that what was happening in Palestine was destined to be catastrophic. The genocidal war the government of Israel is waging in the Occupied Palestinian Territories against the Palestinian People must be stopped. I urge all to challenge their governments to live up to the principles of the UN Charter and international law, including human rights and humanitarian law.”The International Court of Justice, also called the World Court, will hear South Africa’s case against the Israeli State on January 11 and 12, 2024. The ICSGP is calling on endorsing organizations to join actions of support at The Hague during the hearing and to hold local rallies and vigils, including expressions of gratitude and solidarity at South African embassies, this week.