The South African Zionist Federation denounces the International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s ruling for Israel to cease its Rafah operation to rescue over 100 hostages and prevent the ongoing terrorist threat of Hamas. This politically motivated decision from a United Nations Court effectively forces Israel to abandon its citizens in captivity and allow their Hamas captors to go free. It is a win for terrorism and represents an infringement on Israel’s right of self-defence and its duty under international law to protect its people from those seeking their harm. The ICJ has exceeded the scope of its authority and undermined its legitimacy with this biased ruling.

Israel has a moral obligation to continue its efforts to free the hostages and defend its citizens from Hamas, a terrorist group committed to her destruction. The ICJ’s decision represents a fundamental moral and legal failure on the part of the international community.

We are deeply disappointed that the South African government, which frequently aligns with repressive regimes like Iran and Russia, and terrorist groups like Hamas, persists in using the ICJ to further its political agenda against Israel. The government’s inconsistency is evident in its failure to condemn the Russian artillery strikes that claimed the lives of numerous Ukrainian civilians in recent weeks, nor refer it to international bodies for sanction.

The IDF conducts carefully targeted operations to rescue the hostages and degrade Hamas’ terror infrastructure in Gaza, taking extensive measures to prevent civilian casualties.

The ICJ’s impartiality has been called into question. Today’s ruling was issued by Judge Nawaf Salam of Lebanon, who as a former UN ambassador, made unfounded comparisons of Israel to apartheid and accused the IDF of war crimes without evidence.

Israel has every right to continue its efforts to bring its captive citizens home and end Hamas’ terrorist capabilities in Gaza. No country should be expected to abandon its people to terrorist hostage-takers, and allow those committed to its destruction a free pass. The lives of the hostages, and the legal rights and obligations of democracies, are at stake.