Israel-Palestine Escalation
Israel was hit by an unprecedented rocket attack from the Gaza Strip on October 7, with Hamas movement's troops infiltrating border areas. On October 8, the Israeli government announced that it had invoked Article 40 of the Basic Law, which means the country was officially in a state of war.

Pretoria Requests ICJ to Declare Israel's Occupation of Palestine Illegal

© AP Photo / Peter DejongThe logo of the International Court of Justice, left, and that of the UN, right.
The logo of the International Court of Justice, left, and that of the UN, right. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 20.02.2024
The UN International Court of Justice in The Hague is holding hearings from February 19 to 26 on the legal consequences of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. More than 50 states and three international organizations, including the African Union, are set to take the stand.
South Africa is asking the International Court of Justice ICJ to rule on the illegality of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, saying it will help efforts to reach a settlement, Vusi Madonsela, South Africa's ambassador to the Netherlands, told the court.
He noted that Israel has resorted to an extreme form of apartheid in the Palestinian territories, similar to South Africa.
"We as South Africans sense, see, hear, and feel to our core the inhumane discriminatory policies and practices of the Israeli regime as an even more extreme form of the apartheid that was institutionalized against black people in my country," the ambassador said.
Madonsela added that South Africa has a "special obligation" to condemn apartheid wherever it occurs and ensure it is "brought to an immediate end."
"A clear legal characterization of the nature of Israel's regime over the Palestinian people can only assist in remedying the ongoing delay and achieving a just settlement," he noted.
Another South African representative, Pieter Andreas Stemmet, Acting Chief State Law Adviser in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, said that the inalienable right of the Palestinians to self-determination has been recognized by the UN on many occasions.
He added that Israel's expansion of settlement activity is a violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a party.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva arrives before the opening ceremony of the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa on February 17, 2024. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 19.02.2024
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South Africa's legal arguments echoed those made a day earlier by Palestinian representatives as the six-day hearing began in a Dutch court.
At Monday's court hearing, Riyad al-Malki, a representative of the Palestinian delegation and head of the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the Palestinian people have been denied their right to self-determination for decades and have been subjected to colonization and apartheid. He added that Israel has left the Palestinian people with three options - expulsion, subjugation or death.
Another member of the delegation, attorney Paul Reichler, noted that Palestine is asking the ICJ to recognize Israel's occupation of its territories as illegal because it may be the last hope for a two-state solution.

In December 2022, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling on the ICJ to give an advisory or non-binding opinion on Israel’s 57-year occupation of Palestinian territories.

Five UN organs, including the General Assembly, and 16 specialized agencies of the UN system have the right to request advisory opinions from the International Court of Justice. Unlike the decisions of the UN Court, its advisory opinions are not binding.
Notably, the case is unrelated to the genocide complaint that South Africa has filed with the UN International Court of Justice against Israel for genocide in the ongoing war in Gaza.