Jeremy Corbyn to join South African delegation for Israel genocide case

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Jeremy Corbyn to join South African delegation for Israel genocide case

South African delegation will be joined by “senior political figures from progressive political parties and movements across the globe”, including Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn.
Jeremy Corbyn.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will join a South African government delegation at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the country’s upcoming case accusing Israel of genocide.

As per a Pretoria statement, the South African delegation will be joined by “senior political figures from progressive political parties and movements across the globe”, including Mr Corbyn.

The statement said Mr Corbyn will stand with Pretoria at The Hague on Thursday and Friday for the hearings in South Africa’s case against Israel, which accuses the Middle Eastern nation of genocide against the people of Palestine.

The delegation will be led by South African minister of justice and correctional services Ronald Lamola.

Mr Lamola said: “We are determined to see the end of the genocide that is currently taking place in Gaza.

“We are most encouraged by leaders of the world who have not blunted their consciousness and have stood on the right side of history by supporting a case that seeks to protect the rights of human beings, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity.”

Mr Corbyn was the only foreign political figure named in the South African statement.

Earlier this week, Mr Corbyn called on Parliament to “support South Africa’s process”.

Mr Corbyn told MPs: “People are dying of starvation and thirst in the Gaza Strip. Cannot the Government understand the anger around the world when they watch this happening in real-time?”

“And why so many people are very pleased that the government of South Africa has taken an initiative in going to the International Court of Justice in order to hold Israel to account for the deaths of so many wholly innocent people in Gaza.

“Cannot the government understand that, and at least support South Africa’s process?”

In November, Mr Corbyn described Hamas as a “terrorist group” after repeatedly avoiding the term, as he wrote an article accusing the Israeli army of being guilty of “acts of terror too”.

Mr Corbyn wrote in the left-wing Tribune magazine that “I deplore the targeting of all civilians”, including Hamas’s killing of around 1,200 people in Israel on October 7.

“If we understand terrorism to describe the indiscriminate killing of civilians, in breach of international law, then of course Hamas is a terrorist group,” he said.

“The targeting of hospitals, refugee camps and so-called safe zones by the Israeli army are acts of terror too; and the killing of more than 11,000 people, half of whom are children, cannot possibly be understood as acts of self-defence.”

Meanwhile, the UK Foreign Secretary has said he is “worried” that Israel may have acted in breach of international law in the Middle East conflict.

Lord David Cameron said that he “of course” has concerns about the crisis in Gaza but that it is not his job to make a “legal adjudication”.

During his first grilling by MPs since his return to Cabinet, the former prime minister told Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee: “If you’re asking me am I worried that Israel has taken action that might be in breach of international law because this particular premise has been bombed or whatever?

“Yes, of course I’m worried about that, and that’s why I consult the Foreign Office lawyers when giving this advice on arms exports.”

Lord Cameron also called on Israel to restore water supply in Gaza but declined to be drawn on whether depriving the civilian population of it amounts to breaking laws on armed conflict.

The UK Government has said it supports Israel’s right to defend itself following Hamas’s October 7 attacks but urged it to show restraint and act in accordance with international rules.

The Foreign Secretary said he did not agree with the ICJ case, telling MPs: “I don’t think it’s right. I don’t think we should bandy round terms like genocide in this case.”

Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog, called the ICJ case filed by South Africa “atrocious and preposterous”.

At a press conference with US secretary of state Antony Blinken on Tuesday, Mr Herzog said: “Actually, our enemies, Hamas, in their charter, call for the destruction of our nation, the State of Israel – the only nation-state of the Jewish people.”

He went on to accuse South Africa of hypocrisy for bringing the case to the ICJ and thanked Mr Blinken for Washington’s support of Israel.

Mr Herzog added that Israel makes utmost efforts to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza.

Some 1,200 people, mainly civilians, were killed in Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel.

Since the war began, more than 23,000 Palestinians have been killed and more than 58,000 have been wounded in Israel’s assault in Gaza, according to its Hamas-run health ministry.

The public hearings at the ICJ will take place on Thursday and Friday at the Peace Palace in The Hague.

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