In a heated debate at the United Nations General Assembly, Israel has accused South Africa of weaponizing the United Nations Genocide Convention in what it deems a “baseless” and “libelous” legal case. UN representative Gilad Erdan has further leveled accusations of bias and hypocrisy against the United Nations.
Despite these allegations, South Africa has stood firm, emphasizing its obligation under international law to prevent violence during discussions about the Security Council’s veto on Gaza. The ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas has prompted South Africa to seek an immediate ceasefire through the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Israel, on the other hand, criticizes the UN for not condemning Hamas’ attacks on October 7, resulting in the deaths of 1,300 Israelis, with over 100 hostages still held. Erdan has also condemned South Africa for bringing Israel to the ICJ over genocide claims, stating, “The UN has become the epitome of dystopian reality. And South Africa’s baseless and libelous case at the ICJ proves this exactly.”
In response, South Africa’s deputy representative, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, argues against indiscriminate attacks on civilians, drawing parallels between Israel’s actions and the collective punishment conducted by South Africa’s apartheid government. He emphasizes the need to halt military actions in Gaza, asserting that they resemble the apartheid-era practices of punishing those fighting for their legitimate rights and freedoms.
Despite the ongoing conflict, the UN has been unable to broker a ceasefire in the three-month-long war, with the United States employing its veto power in the Security Council to reject a resolution on halting hostilities. The clash at the UN continues, underscoring the complexity and deep-rooted tensions surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict.