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ICJ signals United Nations could be on genocide watch

By David Singer - posted Thursday, 22 February 2024

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has signalled that the United Nations could come under ICJ scrutiny if it fails to take any steps that could prevent genocide being committed in Gaza.

In a letter sent to South Africa and Israel by the ICJ on 16 February:

The Court notes that the most recent developments in the Gaza Strip, and in Rafah in particular, ‘would exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare with untold regional consequences’, as stated by the United Nations Secretary-General (Remarks to the General Assembly on priorities for 2024 (7 Feb. 2024)).


UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres needs to carefully consider why the ICJ highlighted his remarks and not those of other world leaders who have been similarly calling for ceasefires in Gaza and warning Israel against entering Rafah to eradicate those Gazans responsible for the invasion of Israel on 7 October 2023.

The United Nations is – contrary to those other leaders - in a unique position to prevent any genocide being committed in Gaza by transferring Gaza’s women, children, the sick and the elderly to any of the 50 refugee camps outside Gaza for which the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) provides services.

Instead the UN has chosen to keep Gaza’s population penned in Gaza where they constitute a human shield preventing Israel expeditiously neutralising those Gazans responsible for the murder, rape, hostage-taking, deliberate destruction of property and internal displacement of 100000 civilians in Israel.

UNRWA Commissioner General - Phillippe Lazzarini reported on 13 February:

I just had a two-hour briefing with the Member States. Basically, we were talking about the situation in Rafah, which is deeply, deeply concerning and, as you know, people are anxious and in fear of a possible large-scale military operation.

If this military operation takes place, the question is, "Where will the civilians go?” There is absolutely no safe place in Rafah anymore. The fear is that the number of people killed and injured might again significantly increase in a conflict where, I reminded, already more than 100,000 people have been either killed or injured or are missing.

Did no-one present ask Lazzarini: “What about our 50 refugee camps outside Gaza?

Guterres also has been strong on words but weak on action – ever since he released his falsely-misleading anti-Israel diatribe on 24 October 2023:


The attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum, he noted, with the Palestinian people being subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation, during which they saw their land devoured by settlements; their economy stifled; their homes demolished; and their hopes for a political solution vanishing.  However, the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas.  “And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people,” he said, emphasizing:  “Even war has rules.”  At this critical hour, he appealed to everyone to pull back from the brink before the violence claims even more lives and spreads even farther.

If anyone is responsible “for a political solution vanishing” – it is Guterres himself.

For the last 20 months Guterres has resisted bringing before the General Assembly and the Security Council an alternative to the two-state solution proposed in UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016):  The Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine solution published in the Saudi Government-controlled Al Arabiya News on 8 June 2022 by Ali Shihabi – an advisor to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

The “humanitarian nightmare with untold regional consequences” now warned by Guterres could well have been unnecessary had Guterres not buried the Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine solution prior to 7 October 2023.

Secretary-General Guterres:  Beware the ICJ.


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The author has a Facebook page: “Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine supporters”

Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades.


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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at

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All articles by David Singer

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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