South Africa’s foreign minister on Friday welcomed an order by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for Israel to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza, saying the decision would be important in saving lives in the Palestinian enclave.
Speaking to reporters following the world court’s interim decision in the genocide case in The Hague, Naledi Pandor said South Africa “could not stand idly” by and would continue to observe the killing of thousands of Palestinians.
In response to a question on whether she was disappointed that the ruling did not order a cease-fire in Gaza, Pandor said she would have wanted the word “cessation” included.
“My hope is that we will begin to move toward a process where substantively a two-state solution is being discussed,” added Pandor, who leads South Africa’s delegation to the Hague to hear the ICJ provisional measures application outcome.
She also noted that Israel’s “powerful friends” should advise Tel Aviv to act in accordance with the order.
The ICJ ordered Israel to take “all measures within its power” to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza, but fell short of ordering a cease-fire.
South Africa, which brought the case, had asked the court to rule on interim measures, including that Israel immediately cease its military operations in Gaza, take reasonable measures to prevent the genocide of Palestinians, and ensure that displaced people return to their homes and have access to humanitarian assistance.
Israel launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip in the wake of an Oct. 7 attack by Palestinian group Hamas. The Israeli response has killed 26,083 Palestinians and injured 64,487 others. Nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.
The Israeli war has left 85% of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while more than half of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.