Israeli lawmaker Ofer Cassif joins South Africa’s genocide lawsuit at World Court
MK Ofer Cassif with Hadash activists during a protest held Saturday at Habima Square in Tel-Aviv, Jan. 7, 2023 | Photo via Zo Haderech

TEL AVIV—Israeli lawmaker Ofer Cassif, member of the Knesset for the Hadash coalition, announced on Sunday that he would become a signatory to South Africa’s genocide lawsuit against Israel in the Hague.

In his announcement, he said, “My constitutional duty is to Israeli society and all its residents, not to a government whose members and its coalition are calling for ethnic cleansing and even actual genocide.” Immediately afterward, he stated, “Those who hurt the country and the people are the ones who led South Africa to turn to The Hague, not me and my friends.

“I will not give up the struggle for our existence as a moral society. That is true patriotism—not wars of revenge and calls for destruction, not unnecessary bloodshed, and not the sacrifice of civilians and soldiers in futile wars,” Cassif concluded.

Cassif is one of more than 400 Israelis who are signing onto a petition of support for South Africa’s case. In October, the Israeli parliamentarian warned that an “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians was underway at the hands of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza and was temporarily expelled from the Knesset. He represents the Hadash coalition in parliament as a member of the Communist Party of Israel.

Israeli Communist Ofer Cassif expelled from parliament for criticizing war on Gaza

In the petition he has joined, initiators say they wish to “add our voice as citizens of Israel to the claims…that South Africa submitted to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, in the hope that our voice will help reach a decision that will bring an immediate end to the war.”

A far-right organization, Btsalmo (In His Image), called for the ethics committee to remove Cassif from the Knesset yet again after he announced he would join the lawsuit in the Hague.

On Monday, Bolivia became the latest country to announce it is supporting South Africa’s lawsuit, which accuses Israel of crimes of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. Bolivia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that it was joining the case as a signatory to the Genocide Convention “committed to peace and justice.” Turkey, Malaysia, and Jordan—one of the U.S.’ top Middle East allies—have also announced support for the case.

“South Africa took a historic step in the defense of the Palestinian people,” Bolivia’s statement added. It also noted that Bolivia, together with South Africa, Bangladesh, Comoros, and Djibouti, presented a request to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC)—a separate international court that prosecutes individuals—to investigate the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories on Nov. 17.

At least 22,835 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to the health ministry there. About 70% of those killed are said to be women and children. During the same period, 58,416 Palestinians were reportedly injured.

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Zo HaDerekh
Zo HaDerekh

Zo HaDerekh (This Is The Way) is the Communist Party of Israel's Hebrew-language newspaper.