JAKARTA: Several Indonesian civil society organizations and activists have come out in support of a case filed by South Africa at the International Court of Justice which accuses Israel of engaging in “genocidal acts” in Gaza. 

In the case launched on Friday at the ICJ, which is also known as the World Court, South Africa stated that Israel has “engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza,” adding that Tel Aviv’s conduct is in violation of its obligations under the Genocide Convention.

With its submission, South Africa is asking the court to issue an interim order for Israel to immediately suspend its military operations in Gaza. A hearing into that request is likely in the coming days or weeks. While the case may take years if it goes ahead, an interim order could be issued within weeks.

Pretoria can bring the case under the Genocide Convention because both it and Tel Aviv are signatories to it.

South Africans liken their struggle against apartheid with the Palestinian cause. Similarly, Indonesia is also a staunch supporter of Palestine, with its people and government seeing Palestinian statehood as mandated by the nation’s constitution, which calls for the abolition of colonialism.

“We support South Africa’s move to drag Israel to the International Court of Justice,” Dr. Sarbini Murad, chairman of the Medical Emergency Rescue Committee, told Arab News.

MER-C is the Jakarta-based organization that funded the development of the Indonesia Hospital in northern Gaza. The facility was among the first damaged by Israel’s latest bombardments of the besieged strip, which since early October has killed nearly 22,000 people and injured more than 57,000. 

“Israel must be taken to the ICJ because what Israel is doing is genocide. (The) ICJ must act bravely and firmly, without fear even under pressure from Israel through the United States,” Murad said. “We hope that the war will end and peace will come for Palestine.”

Jama’ah Muslimin, a Muslim organization based in West Java, also voiced its support for South Africa, calling the case launch “brilliant and courageous.”

“(Jama’ah Muslimin) calls on other countries, like Indonesia, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member countries, Arab countries especially, all member states of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) and the UN to support and push for the international court to put Israel on trial to stop its crime of genocide in Palestine,” the organization said in a statement.

Though the World Court’s orders are legally binding, they are not always followed as the court has no means of enforcing its decisions.

“Israel has gone beyond the limits of humane reason, and as such we fully support South Africa and hope that the international court will take urgent steps to stop the mass genocide that Israeli forces are doing on the occupied Palestinian territory,” Cecep Jasim, who coordinated a thousands-strong march for Gaza in West Java in late November, told Arab News.

“This is another sliver of hope for us, as concrete steps from other countries in support of Palestine will surely add power to the movement to create freedom and independence for Palestinians.”


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