We support the ICJ's Israel genocide hearing - Change Starts Now

Roger Jardine says his party firmly endorses UNGA's resolution calling for immediate ceasefire

Statement issued on the eve of the ICJ sitting to consider provisional measures in relation to South Africa’s application against Israel under the Genocide Convention.

Following the horrific events of October 7, when Hamas killed approximately 1 200 Israelis in the deadliest attack on Jews since the Holocaust, Israel has killed upwards of 30 000 Palestinians, half of these children, in Gaza – with the killing of civilians in the West Bank escalating daily.

As appalling as the Hamas-led attacks of October 7 were, and must be condemned, they do not represent the start of this conflict. They were preceded by 76 years of Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

We in South Africa well know, that despite immense historical oppression and suffering , there is a path to peace, to reconciliation, and to shared futures – through accountability, pragmatism and a constitutional, inclusive democracy. We also know that a true path to peace requires leadership and vision.

Inclusive peace processes are neither easy nor comfortable – but they are necessary to end generations of violence driven by occupation and the demand for freedom. The current leadership of Israel appears unequal to this task. Any genuine path to peace will require the removal of impediments to peace and to viable statehood for the Palestinian people. To this end the illegal settlements in the West Bank must be removed.

We call on all Israelis and Palestinians who seek peace to come together to work towards a free Palestinian state and Israel’s right to exist within secure borders.

When in 1984 the United Nations Security Council issued a resolution explicitly calling apartheid a crime against humanity, it undoubtedly gave momentum to the struggle to end apartheid ten years later.

It is in that light that we welcome the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) hearing later this week for provisional measures relating to Israel's obligations under the Genocide Convention. The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, and its ruling will provide impetus to and consolidate opinion within the global community as to how a lasting peace based on human rights and social justice can be achieved.

We also firmly endorse the United Nations General Assembly’s resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. We further call for the immediate and unconditional release of all Palestinian prisoners and all Israeli hostages and for full humanitarian access to Gaza, consistent with obligations under international law.

The values Change Starts Now holds dear are those which inform South Africa’s constitution. Among the reasons for the Constitution’s adoption was that we might take our place as a sovereign state in the family of nations. The responsibilities of that membership weigh heavy on us. It is for this reason that it is imperative at this time that we look to engage and respect the institutions of our multilateral system – looking to shore up a system that facilitates and coordinates state cooperation, pursues peace and that sanctions war and aggression.

Statement issued by Roger Jardine, Change Starts Now, 9 January 2024.