In 1989, when we were in our final year in the political science department at Cairo University's Faculty of Economics and Political Science, we began discussing a graduate thesis of one of our colleagues on nuclear cooperation between South Africa and Israel. At that time none of us had any idea that this African country would come… The Mission is at the forefront of those who stand against Israel in all the countries of the world.
Instead, the end of apartheid and the enthronement of the great freedom fighter Nelson Mandela from prison seemed like a winged fantasy to us, and if we expected it, we couldn't believe it would come decades later.
South Africa emerged from the ordeal of anti-black discrimination believing Mandela's statement, “We forgive but never forget,” and later became loyal to this principle.
As she has not forgotten, her approach to Israel's war on Gaza emerged from the heart of her lived bitter experience, which began with settler colonialism and then armed struggle, in which much blood was spilled. The peaceful struggle created a state of international sympathy for the discriminated, translated into neglect, exclusion and isolation. In the apartheid government system, he was eventually forced to give up his ideas, understanding, laws, practices and sentiments. , and the method of governing the state and society, so that it collapsed and a democratic state was established on its ruins, equalizing white and black citizens in rights and duties.
All this history forms an intellectual framework through which Johannesburg now approaches international issues, and now it has been applied to Gaza, and Israel has no choice but to file a case at the International Court of Justice, accusing it of “genocide”. In this narrow geographical area, it affected not only humans but also stone.
Perhaps this bold move by South Africa will gain importance and momentum from that experience, from that framework, from the image that this African country sees in the whole world, and part of that is certainly related to the issue of the Palestinian people. He also faces settler colonialism and lives behind the dividing walls that have turned the Gaza Strip and the West Bank into two giant prisons, while the occupation practices clear and blatant discrimination against those of these peoples inside Israel since 1948. Keep its nationality.
Within the image, and even at its heart, there is a representation of the world with the ethnicities and cultures of South Africa, as we find among the group members pleading before the judges of the European, African and International Court of Justice. Asian origin, and within the entire country there is a representation of three religions that are most at odds with the Palestinian issue, namely: Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
South Africa today adds a new dimension to this popular image by intervening to save the Palestinian people, as every free and fair man in this world has no choice but to say from his depths, from the bottom of his heart. And in his full voice: Thank you, South Africa.
Extremism and arrogance
Comparing the position of Mandela's country to others indicates a general awareness of two basic things: first, like individuals, there are countries where others are respected and others are humiliated, and countries where others are brave and others cowardly, and second: all those who want to love and respect Mandela live. From the fact that his person, his path, and his people absolutely deserved it.
All this, South Africa's response to Israeli aggression through the International Court of Justice has strong merit and authority, relying on the structure and image of this country and the role it has played in addressing and resolving conflicts on the African continent. It has grown in popularity over the course of nearly a quarter of a century, as well as in recent days.
Perhaps for this reason, some Israelis going to the International Court of Justice, for the first time – and especially at the hands of South Africa – represents a strong international pressure on them, which must be dealt with seriously, which is what actually happened when Israel participated in the trial and defended itself, within which voices rose. She calls him not to appear in court.
If there are Israelis who scoff at this whole thing on the grounds that the court will eventually go to the Security Council, and the US will eventually exercise its veto power, these irresponsible people don't realize this. What happened at the International Court of Justice is a declaration of Israel's moral decline, and represents a prelude to the very high political price that will inevitably have to be paid, and if Washington insists on defending Israelis it will certainly be a killing machine without consideration or consultation.
Fake paint falls off
Israel may not be bound by the court's decision to end the war, but by condemning it – and thus exposing and condemning it to the world – it is committed to shedding the positive image it has cultivated for itself. For decades, and increasing world sympathy for the Palestinian cause.
It is not difficult to re-paint the mental image of the Palestinians now severely distorted by Israel and its planning. Previously, there were many issues facing this distortion, but now the push and response will rely on the legal and logical dimension that South Africa presented before an international court, and its presentation spread through traditional and new media around the world. at the same time.
Even if Israel gets away with the crime of “genocide”, it committed against the Gazans – without any doubt – war crimes and crimes against humanity, it must stop, not wait for the court to issue a verdict and then, even if it does not, if Israel complies with this, the international displeasure against it will increase, and All the attractive colorful paint will fall away hiding the plain truth, namely that the Palestinians are under occupation. This is the root of disease and suffering, and without treating it, no solution or peace will be achieved, and the blood will continue to flow, the fire will continue to burn, and the pain will continue.
Avoidance of liability
Perhaps Israel is well aware of this and tries to hide it, as it did before the Guardian's Court, where it neither explicitly nor implicitly mentions the occupier, but instead tries to avoid its responsibility to the people under occupation. When he responded to Israel's accusation of deliberately starving the Palestinians: Egypt is responsible for the Rafah crossing. The blockade was tightened, ignoring the six crossings between Israel and Gaza.
The hidden truth is that Israel is expected to face pressures to fulfill the responsibilities of the occupation, and that the most important thing is to crystallize the status of the Palestinians as an “occupied people”. , sometimes in the name of establishing formal or notional Palestinian authority, sometimes using the pretext of the existence of movements and organizations that reject the existence of Israel and do not want peace with it.
But more importantly – and it is already at hand – the action taken by South Africa makes it difficult for Israel to plan to relocate Palestinians, outside the Gaza Strip – as now proposed – or the West Bank, as Tel Aviv intends in the future.
Yes, the plan was thwarted by the determination of the Gazans, most of whom insist on staying on their land, whether it is too dangerous to live there while the war continues or too difficult after the war to destroy the basic structure of life there, but Israel is accused of “genocide” – and She must fend for herself – her hand will be tied to expelling the Palestinians from their land.
The image of Israel after January 11, 2024 will be different than it was before, which would not have been possible had it not been for the important action taken by South Africa that not only reflects the ability of its elites to manage the crisis, but also expresses in clear language its belief that it is a moral duty for states to confront murder, injustice and discrimination.