The US is refusing to say if it will respect an upcoming ruling from the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) on South Africa’s genocide case against Israel that could order a halt to Israel’s onslaught in Gaza.
The ruling on whether Israel is committing genocide will take years, but South Africa has asked the ICJ to issue an interim order for Israel to pause its military operations. The ICJ is scheduled to make a decision on the interim order on Friday.
When asked if parties should abide by whatever the ICJ rules, State Department spokesman Vedant Patel refused to answer. “I would not opine on anything like that given this is a legal process, and I’m not going to hypothesize or speculate on any kind of outcome,” he said.
Patel also repeated the US objection to the case. “The allegations that Israel is committing genocide we believe to be unfounded,” he said.
Patel previously called the ICJ an “important judicial organ” and said it “plays a vital role in peaceful settlement of disputes.”
If Israel is found to be committing genocide, US officials would be implicated due to their unconditional military support and political cover. The ICJ does not have the power to enforce its rulings, but if it orders a halt to Israel’s operations, it would significantly increase international pressure on the US and Israel.
The White House has slammed South Africa’s case against Israel as “meritless” despite the strong evidence that Israel is committing genocide. Lawyers representing South Africa at the ICJ cited the mass slaughter of civilians in Gaza, the cutting off of food and other basic goods to the Strip, and the genocidal rhetoric from Israeli officials as evidence that Israel is committing genocide.