Ramaphosa Stands Firm: South Africa Supports Palestinian Self-Determination

South Africa has had a clear position since the beginning of the conflict in the Middle East

by Sead Dedovic
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Ramaphosa Stands Firm: South Africa Supports Palestinian Self-Determination
© Maja Hitij / Getty Images News

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged his country's continued support for the Palestinians' right to self-determination after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza. In a televised address, Ramaphosa expressed confidence that this order would help resolve the crisis in Gaza. Despite criticism for taking Israel to the Hague Tribunal, he emphasized South Africa's stance against atrocities, drawing on its experience with apartheid.

South Africa has had a clear position since the beginning of the conflict in the Middle East. South Africa and Palestine have had great relations for years, and this move by South Africa speaks volumes about how much they respect the Palestinians as friends. Considering how many countries have expressed support for Palestine, but no one has reacted in this way, Palestinians can be proud to have such friends. Ramaphosa is currently a favorite person in Palestine, and many hope that this will also mean the beginning of peace in the Middle East. That's what everyone hopes for!

The ICJ also directed Israel to provide urgent aid to Gaza, but no ceasefire was ordered. Ramaphosa called for joint efforts to achieve a ceasefire and pursue a permanent two-state solution. South Africa filed a lawsuit against Israel on December 29, 2023, seeking to prevent further harm to Palestinian rights under the Genocide Convention.

This could be the beginning of something bigger. Israelis are disappointed with the reaction of the court, and they believe that this court does not have enough respect for the Israelis, who survived catastrophic moments in their history. Nevertheless, court decisions must be respected, whatever they are.

Many countries around the world reacted to the Court's decisions. Although most countries support South Africa's moves, there are also those countries that consider it unnecessary.

The UK has responded to The Hague's call for Israel to prevent genocide in Gaza. They respect the court's role but express concerns about hindering a ceasefire. 

The UK disagrees with South Africa's decision to initiate the case, stating it is "wrong and provocative." While supporting Israel's right to self-defense, the UK welcomes the court's call for the release of prisoners in Gaza. They advocate for an immediate pause leading to a permanent ceasefire for humanitarian aid and the extraction of prisoners from Gaza.

It is still unknown whether this will cause any response.

What is imperative is that the decisions of the court be implemented in the coming period.

 UN Security Council

After The Hague's recent verdict in the South Africa-Israel case, the UN Security Council is set to hold an emergency session next week to discuss its implementation. Algeria, requesting the meeting, aims to enforce the International Court of Justice's interim measures on Israel to prevent genocidal acts against Palestinians in Gaza.

Palestine's UN ambassador, Riyad Mansour, stressed the importance of a ceasefire following the ICJ decision. He mentioned that the Arab Group, represented by Algeria, will advocate for it.  Ceasefire must be imperative. If there is no ceasefire, many other things will not matter.

Riyad Mansour
Riyad Mansour© Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Getty Images News
 

The UN Security Council, facing divisions over the Gaza war, has adopted two resolutions since October 2023, including a call for aid delivery to Gaza. However, a previous ceasefire resolution was vetoed by the US in December 2023.

The ICJ's decision requires Israel to take measures to prevent genocidal acts and submit a report within a month. These measures include preventing harm, destruction, and ensuring humanitarian access in Gaza.

Palestinians can be happy with current events. This gives optimism and hope that there is still 'good' in the world and that the war can finally end! It is necessary for many countries to raise their voices and show that they are on the side of peace at this time. It does not matter whose side you are on at this moment, the most important thing is to promote peace and strive for it.

Otherwise, Israel's leaders mostly had extremist and negative statements regarding the court's decision. They do not want to accept such decisions and consider them hypocritical.


Let us remind you that on October 7, 2023, Hamas attacks on Israel began, which caused an additional reaction from Israel. From that moment on, real chaos ensued. The Israelis wanted to immediately respond and show who was in charge. They have been attacking Palestinians for months, and the number of victims is increasing day by day. Although world leaders are calling for peace, it seems that no one except South Africa dares to take a certain step that would really lead to an end to the conflict between Hamas and Israel. The greatest fear exists of genocide, which is primarily why South Africans decided to take such steps.

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