By Vivienne Myburgh, national director International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, South Africa
The decision of the South African government, led by the ANC, to sue the State of Israel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague for genocide in Gaza, is completely contrary to logic and the national interest.
Unfortunately, the ANC government has aligned itself with Israel’s enemies and is leading the opposition to Israel among the countries of the world, by initiating the case accusing Israel of genocide.
This decision led a series of Christian organisations in the country, including the International Christian Embassy – South Africa branch, along with other organisations such as Bridges for Peace, to sign a public statement condemning the government.
Among other things, we came out against the one-sided approach of the ANC government who has not even acknowledged that the October 7 massacre was the trigger of the present war and has also not made any strong calls for the release of the hostages who are kept under inhumane conditions by Hamas and its allies. This emboldens the anti-Israel groups, who have also become openly violent against Israel supporters, as we experienced on 12 November last year in Cape Town. A planned prayer and proclamation rally for Israel was violently prevented from taking place and anyone who arrived at the event with an Israeli flag was attacked.
This unilateral approach our government has adopted endangers its Jewish citizens due to incitement to antisemitism and also erodes the religious freedom of Christians in the country.
As Christians, we oppose the loss of innocent lives, whether Israelis, Palestinians or anyone else, but
we strongly oppose the court case decision, which is fundamentally flawed. The massacre on October 7 against Israeli civilians, which included rape, mutilation, burning and acts of horror beyond imagination, was a deliberate attempt at genocide, and it was supported by the Hamas charter which calls for the annihilation of Israel.
Hamas and other extremist organisations openly called for the murder of Jews in Israel and around the world. The South African government, shockingly, has not even labelled Hamas a terror organisation. The lack of a public condemnation from South Africa regarding the actions of Hamas in Gaza raises serious concerns and is exacerbated by the ANC hosting delegations from Iran and Hamas in South Africa recently.
Such actions can be interpreted as direct support for the actions of Hamas, including the use of civilians as human shields, the diversion of aid for military purposes and the construction of tunnels, at the expense of humanitarian aid sent to the Palestinian people. This position raises questions about South Africa’s position on these critical human rights issues and its role in international diplomacy.
I would like to clarify unequivocally: the South African government, which is led by the ANC, does not represent the general public. The government does not represent millions of South Africans who stand unequivocally on the side of Israel and are trusting that this trial will result in the world hearing the truth regarding the conflict in Gaza.
The lawsuit filed by the government is against the public interest and was most likely filed due to the ANC being essentially bankrupt and needing funds for the upcoming elections. This made them vulnerable to
being used by Hamas (who urgently seeks a ceasefire), to initiate a court case to seek “interim
provisional measures” while the genocide case is being worked out.
It is highly hypocritical of South Africa to take on this case, while embracing Hamas officials who openly call for the genocide of Israelis. The ANC’s double standards disqualify them from credibly leading South Africa, and all the more disqualify them from helping to resolve the complex situation in the Middle East, as they have always claimed to want to do.
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