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South African Ambassador addresses Palestinian issues at Reconnaissance Research event

The Ambassador of South Africa to Kuwait, Dr. Manelisi Genge, in a significant address at an event hosted by the independent think tank Reconnaissance Research, shared insightful views on South Africa’s stance regarding the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and its ongoing commitment to international diplomacy and human rights.

The Ambassador emphasized South Africa’s historical journey, highlighting the country’s struggle for independence and the significant role played by various formations, including the liberation movements, namely the African National Congress and the Pan-Africanist Congress; those inside South Africa, as well as some in the international community. Reflecting on the profound words of former President Nelson Mandela, the Ambassador reiterated South Africa’s stance its true freedom cannot be enjoyed until Palestine is free.

The speech touched upon South Africa’s long-standing relationship with Palestine, dating back before 1994. The Ambassador acknowledged the country’s internationalist approach and the belief in not isolating itself from global issues. Considering this, South Africa has been actively involved in advocating for the lifting of sanctions on countries like Cuba and is part of the international community that is engaged in diplomatic efforts to finding solutions to global challenges.

The Ambassador specifically addressed the recent developments concerning Israel and Palestine. South Africa, he noted, condemned the actions of Hamas against Israel on 07 October 2023, but also views the reaction of Israel as disproportionate, particularly concerning the indiscriminate bombing of civilians, including women and children and properties. This stance aligns with the country’s commitment to international norms of conflict, which emphasize the focus on combatants over civilians.

South Africa’s diplomatic approach is deeply influenced by the philosophy of Ubuntu, which means that I am, because you are, signifying interconnectedness, and coexistence among people. This philosophy underpins the country’s diverse society, which strengthens and guides its moral and diplomatic decisions, especially regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The Ambassador detailed South Africa’s actions in the international arena, including its push for a ceasefire at the United Nations and its decision to refer the Israel-Palestine case to the International Criminal Court. Despite not being a member of the UN Security Council, South Africa actively uses its presence in the UN General Assembly to advocate justice and peace for the current unfortunate situation in Palestine.

In December 2023, South Africa suspended its diplomatic relations with Israel until a sustainable solution is found in the current developments between Palestine and Israel. Additionally, the country took the significant step of filing its case against Israel at the International Court of Justice. This appeal included requests for provisional measures, primarily focusing on a ceasefire, and the advancement of the case to the merit argument phase.

The Ambassador concluded by reiterating South Africa’s commitment to seeking an immediate ceasefire and restoring the humanity and dignity of the Palestinians. The speech was a powerful affirmation of South Africa’s unwavering dedication to internationalism, human rights, and the pursuit of a just and equitable world.

In a statement, the Ambassador welcomed the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel.

He remarked that the ICJ’s ruling, which suggests the possibility of Israel’s actions in Gaza being genocidal, is a significant development for upholding international law and advancing justice for the Palestinian people.

The Ambassador highlighted the responsibility of all nations to prevent genocide and to stop supporting Israel’s military actions, which the Court identified as potentially genocidal. He also emphasized the binding nature of the ICJ’s provisional measures on both Israel and South Africa, underlining South Africa’s dedication to defending Palestinian rights and striving for their liberation.

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