In light of the heightened tensions between Israel and Palestine, Naledi Pandor has called on the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel. This appeal from Pandor follows a surge in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, which has led to the deaths of thousands of Palestinians.

The Telegram Correspondent

In a bold and courageous move, Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, has called upon the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take decisive action against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Pandor has urged the ICC to issue an arrest warrant for Netanyahu in connection with the massive loss of lives in the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Expressing deep concern over the devastating impact of the conflict, she has emphasised the crucial need for accountability and justice. She highlighted the involvement of Prime Minister Netanyahu in the massacre of women, children, and the elderly in Gaza.

The minister’s plea for action comes at a time when international scrutiny of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the human rights violations that have occurred is intensifying. As an international tribunal, the ICC possesses the jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute individuals responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long been a contentious issue, Pandor’s appeal for Netanyahu’s arrest represents a significant escalation in diplomatic discourse. The response of the ICC to this request and whether it will initiate an investigation into the allegations against the Israeli Prime Minister remains uncertain.

As the international community closely monitors these developments, the demand for justice and accountability in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to gain momentum. The outcome of Pandor’s appeal to the ICC could have far-reaching implications for the pursuit of justice and the resolution of this prolonged conflict.

However, Israel, similar to the United States, Russia, and other nations, has not ratified the Rome Statute, which grants the International Criminal Court (ICC) authority over four categories of grave offences, such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Nevertheless, the ICC has previously issued arrest warrants, as exemplified by the case of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was unable to attend the BRICS summit in South Africa due to such a warrant.

In her address to the MPs Pandor said: “More than 1,000 Palestinians are dead, thousands injured, public facilities destroyed, and cruel and wanton bombardment is ongoing. Therefore, as South Africa, we remain steadfast in calling for an immediate, comprehensive ceasefire. 

“The actions that we are witnessing daily by Israel are a violation of international law, including the UN Charter, and the Geneva Convention and all of its protocols.” 

The Gaza Strip, home to over 2 million Palestinian citizens, has been subjected to continuous bombardments by the Israel Defence Force (IDF) for a duration exceeding one month. This has resulted in a significant number of Palestinians being compelled to evacuate the area.

The death toll surpassed 10,000 people, with nearly half of the casualties being children. The IDF’s indiscriminate bombing campaign has targeted various structures, including hospitals and refugee centres in Gaza. Consequently, over a million people have been displaced, and hundreds of thousands are now deprived of essential resources such as water, sanitation, food, and healthcare due to the actions of the Israeli military.

Many countries across the world have issued appeals for a cessation of hostilities, with certain countries, such as South Africa, taking the additional step of expelling Israeli Ambassadors as a means of expressing their opposition to the brutality inflicted upon Palestinians in Gaza by the Zionist State.

In Pandor’s address to Parliament, she said: “The murder of children, women and the aged by Israel is an act that should have resulted in the ICC issuing an immediate arrest warrant for key decision-makers including Mr [Benjamin] Netanyahu, who’s responsible for violations of international criminal law.”

Pandor also called for the creation of two separate states where Palestinians and Israelis could coexist peacefully alongside each other.

“It’s important to stress that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be solved only through the establishment of two states, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace. The Palestinian state should be created along the lines of the 1967 border with east Jerusalem as its capital and in line with standing multiple UN resolutions.”

Pandor said South Africa, having experienced the challenges of apartheid, should unite in solidarity with the people of Palestine and condemn Israel’s military aggression against defenceless people in the Gaza Strip.

“The notion of Israel’s right to defend itself through military means has been used erroneously in international law by many and deliberately by others to justify the unlawful use of force by Israel on the people of Gaza and the West Bank,” Pandor said.

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