28 January 2024
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) welcomes the International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s finding that Israel’s actions in Gaza may constitute acts of genocide and that Israel must take immediate steps to prevent this. This is an historic judgement in defence of the inalienable human rights of the long-suffering Palestinian people and the obligation of all nations to prevent and act against any forms of genocide.
We applaud the principled leadership and stance of the South African government led by President Cyril Ramaphosa. It affirms South Africa’s long held stance that international relations must be anchored by the principles of human rights and democracy and that all conflicts, irrespective of how intractable they may appear to be, must and ultimately can only be resolved through negotiations.
The Federation is pleased that government under the stewardship of our ally, the African National Congress, continues to assert the principles of international solidarity, the rights of all nations to self-determination and that racism and discrimination of any type must never be tolerated.
Whilst some ill-tempered critics sought to undermine South Africa’s case on behalf of the Palestinian people, we are pleased that not only did the overwhelming majority of Justices of the Court make a preliminary finding in favour of the Palestinian people, but that the judgement has been welcomed across the globe with calls for the recalcitrant militarist Israeli regime to abide by its prescripts in full.
We are not under any illusion that Israel’s government led by Bibi Netanyahu and some of the world’s most extreme, racist and expansionist warlords, will willingly embrace the common sense and humane judgement of the ICJ. It is thus critical that the United Nations act without fear, favour or bias to hold the apartheid Israeli regime accountable and ensure its full compliance. This includes its providing monthly reports to the ICJ on its actions to prevent any further instances of genocide and to hold those who have shamefully violated the Geneva Conventions fully accountable.
Though the ICJ judgement is a welcome moment of solidarity for millions of Palestinians experiencing the most brutal forms of occupation, violence and genocide; it is critical that this progressive intervention be seized upon by the international community to lay an immediate path for the long delayed two state solution. This includes commencement of genuine negotiations under conditions of peace that will see the establishment of a fully fledged independent Palestinian state. Anything less than this will see this tragic 75 years plus conflict continue to fester and countless more innocent lives needlessly lost generation after generation.
It is fundamental that the United States and the European Union play a constructive role and ensure Israel engages with the Palestinian people and their leaders in genuine negotiations for a two-state solution. Sending arms and financing to a regional bully that seeks to replicate an apartheid state is nothing short of shameful.
Issued by COSATU
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