Tánaiste Micheál Martin has said the Government will “strongly consider intervention” in South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice.
The court today ordered Israel to prevent acts of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza and to do more to help civilians, although it stopped short of ordering a ceasefire.
Mr Martin said the Government expected Israel to “implement all provisional measures that have been ordered by the Court, in good faith and as a matter of urgency”.
He said that following today’s ruling, he has asked his officials to prepare legal advice “on an urgent basis”.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald welcomed the judgement, saying the “only way for the order of the court to be fulfilled is through a full, immediate and permanent ceasefire”.
She said the Government must join South Africa in its case “to hold Israel accountable for their crimes against the Palestinian people”.
Deputy McDonald said: “Today’s preliminary judgement from the International Court of Justice is decisive and significant. It has established that South Africa has standing and that Israel has a case to answer. The International Court of Justice has ordered that Israel cease the targeting and killing of Palestinians, that is must take measures to prevent acts of genocide in the Gaza strip and that it must allow humanitarian aid into Gaza.”
Labour’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Brendan Howlin said the ICJ ruling was “a significant step towards justice for the people of Gaza”.
“The provisional measures mandated by the Court are crucial. They call on Israel, as a party to the ICJ Convention, to prioritise the physical and emotional well-being of the Palestinian people. Adequate access to the means of living is a fundamental human right that must be safeguarded. The ICJ has taken a vital stance, emphasising the necessity for Israel to uphold these obligations,” he said.
Deputy Howlin added: “As the ICJ takes this monumental step in addressing the allegations of genocide, Ireland has a vital role to play in ensuring that Israel fully complies with the interim measures outlined by the court. The urgency of the matter cannot be overstated, and Ireland should join with South Africa in pushing for a thorough and just resolution to the substantive case.”
ActionAid Ireland welcomed today’s ICJ ruling. CEO, Karol Balfe, said: “These measures – which include doing all that is needed to prevent acts of genocide including the killing of and causing of serious bodily or mental harm to Palestinians – are potent steps toward rectifying the unparallelled catastrophic situation in Gaza.”
She added: “Ireland should now fulfil its stated objective to make its own submission. This ruling must be adhered to, and urgent action taken to ensure the unequivocal implementation of these crucial measures. Israel must be held accountable for its violations in Gaza.”
Caoimhe De Barra, CEO of Trocáire said the Irish Government must do “everything in its power, including engaging with partners at EU and US levels to ensure that all of the provisions set out by the court are complied with by Israel”.
She also called on the Government to join the substantive case with South Africa as soon as possible.
“The Irish Government also needs to continue to call for a full ceasefire and a political resolution that respects the legitimate rights of Palestinians and achieves a just peace for Palestinians and Israeli,” she added.
Dublin MEP Clare Daly said the ICJ has made a “strong and nearly unanimous judgment that South Africa’s case is plausible and goes forward”.
She said: “Israel’s contemptuous arguments have been thrown out. I regret the Government’s cowardly failure to issue even a statement of support for South Africa’s case. It really wasn’t a tough call. It is now time to do so.”
Ireland South MEP Mick Wallace said the ruling was a “huge defeat for Israel” and that it must “now act to ensure that Palestinians are no longer at risk of harm and genocidal acts”.
Meanwhile, the Cork Palestine Solidarity Campaign (CPSC) criticised the International Court of Justice for failing to order Israel to halt its war in Gaza.
Dominic Carroll, PRO of the CPSC said: “The ICJ is clearly not in the business of stopping wars – even genocidal wars. War will go on, unencumbered by accusations of genocide. The great powers and their allies will not be hindered in their wars. The ICJ is a creature not just of the UN Security Council but of imperialism itself.”
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett has said that the ICJ ruling was “a major blow to the Israeli state and its murderous campaign against the Palestinian people”.
He said: “All EU states have legal obligation to take measures to prevent what maybe a genocide. There must be sanctions. If the Irish government, the EU, and the US believe in international law these countries now have an obligation to act against Israel. There now must be harsh sanctions against Israel. There must be an embargo on the arms trade to Israel, and there must be other measures to physically stop the humanitarian destruction that is occurring in Gaza.”