Dublin protest for Gaza

Palestinian and South African flags are seen at a January 13, 2024 protest for Gaza in Dublin, Ireland.

(Photo: Stringer/Andalou via Getty Images)

'Enough Is Enough': Ireland Joins ICJ Genocide Case Against Israel

"What we saw on October 7 in Israel, and what we are seeing in Gaza now, represents the blatant violation of international humanitarian law on a mass scale," said one top Irish official.

Citing Israel's "blatant" human rights violations in Gaza, Ireland's second-highest-ranking official said Wednesday that the country will join the South Africa-led genocide case before the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Irish Tánaiste Micheál Martin—the equivalent of a deputy prime minister in other parliamentary nations—said that Ireland decided to intervene in the case after analyzing the "legal and policy issues" pertaining to the case under review by the United Nations' top court.

"It is for the court to determine whether genocide is being committed," Martin—who also serves as Ireland's foreign and defense minister—said in a statement. "But I want to be clear in reiterating what I have said many times in the last few months; what we saw on October 7 in Israel, and what we are seeing in Gaza now, represents the blatant violation of international humanitarian law on a mass scale."

Martin continued:

The taking of hostages. The purposeful withholding of humanitarian assistance to civilians. The targeting of civilians and of civilian infrastructure. The indiscriminate use of explosive weapons in populated areas. The use of civilian objects for military purposes. The collective punishment of an entire population.

The list goes on. It has to stop. The view of the international community is clear. Enough is enough. The U.N. Security Council has demanded an immediate cease-fire, the unconditional release of hostages, and the lifting of all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale. The European Council has echoed this call.

South Africa's case—which is supported by over 30 countries, the Arab League, African Union, and others—incisively details Israel's conduct in the war, including the killing of tens of thousands of Palestinians, mostly women and children; the wounding of tens of thousands more; the forcible displacement of 90% of the besieged enclave's 2.3 million people; and the inflicting of conditions leading to widespread starvation and disease. The filing also cited numerous genocidal statements by Israeli officials.

On January 26, the ICJ issued a preliminary ruling that Israel is plausibly committing genocide in Gaza and ordered its government and military to prevent genocidal acts. Palestinian and international human rights defenders say Israel has ignored the order.

A draft report released this week by the U.N.'s Human Rights Council found "reasonable grounds to believe" that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, a move that came on the same day as the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in the ongoing war.

"The situation could not be more stark; half the population of Gaza face imminent famine and 100% of the population face acute food insecurity," said Martin. "As the U.N. secretary-general said as he inspected long lines of blocked relief trucks waiting to enter Gaza during his visit to Rafah at the weekend: 'It is time to truly flood Gaza with lifesaving aid. The choice is clear: surge or starvation.' I echo his words today."

In a St. Partick's Day White House meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden—a staunch supporter of Israel—Irish Toaiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar, who announced earlier this month that he would soon step down, said that "the Irish people are deeply troubled about the catastrophe that's unfolding before our eyes in Gaza."

"And when I travel the world, leaders often ask me why the Irish have such empathy for the Palestinian people," he added. "And the answer is simple: We see our history in their eyes—a story of displacement, of dispossession and national identity questioned and denied, forced emigration, discrimination, and now hunger."

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