News Release

Biden “Greenlight” to Israel as South Africa and Nicaragua Appeal to the World Court


Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. Boyle’s books include The Bosnian People Charge Genocide (1996) Palestine, Palestinians and International Law (2009) and World Politics, Human Rights and International Law (2021). He was just on the Rachel Blevins Show and has recently been on FlashpointsDemocracy Now and MSNBC.

He said today: “As many have noted, Biden administration rhetoric is meaningless as it arms and backs Israel. In fact, by saying that Israel needs to have a plan in place for civilians before going into Rafah, as it has been doing, the Biden administration is effectively giving Israel a greenlight to do just that. That plan seems to include camps that have been built by Egypt. What Blinken’s trips to the Mideast have been about isn’t about making peace, they have almost certainly been about hatching a scheme whereby the Israelis force Palestinians into Egypt and the Egyptian government — which hates the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas — runs the camps and other corrupt Arab governments fund the illegal scheme.

“Clearly, with the Israelis rejecting a permanent ceasefire, an increasing threat to peace is quite possible.

“Seeing such threats, South Africa has just returned to the International Court of Justice, stating ‘in light of the new facts and changes in the situation in Gaza — particularly the situation of widespread starvation — brought about by the continuing egregious breaches of the’ Genocide Convention by Israel ‘and its ongoing manifest violations of the provisional measures indicated by’ the ICJ on Jan. 26.” [See PDF of South Africa’s application, filed on Wednesday.]

Boyle represented Bosnia and Herzegovina at the ICJ and the South African application quotes his second request for provisional measures of protection: “The extreme gravity of the situation facing Palestinian men, women, children and babies, and the existential risk the Palestinian people in Gaza as a part of the Palestinian national or ethnical group face as a result of Israel’s genocidal military campaign demands further action by the Court. To this end, the Court is reminded of the application for additional provisional measures made by Bosnia in 1993 in the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide … case. The written application entreated: ‘Make no mistake about it: This will be the last opportunity that this Court shall have to save both the people and State of Bosnia and Herzegovina from extermination and annihilation by means of genocide by the Respondent. God will record your response to our Request for the rest of eternity.'”

Boyle also notes that Nicaragua has recently brought suit at the ICJ against Germany. The Nicaraguan application states: “In 2004, well before the most recent assault of Israel against the Gaza Strip, the Court had reaffirmed that Palestine was an occupied territory and that the Palestinian people had a right to self determination. The Court also recalled that all States had the obligation not to render aid or assistance in maintaining that situation. [PDF of 2004 ICJ ruling] Germany ignored this obligation then and has compounded this breach by continuing to aid and assist Israel after the most recent and even grosser violations of peremptory norms of general international law and conventional obligations. …

“Germany has provided political, financial and military support to Israel fully aware at the time of authorization that the military equipments would be used in the commission of great breaches of international law by this State and in disregard of its own obligations. In particular, the military equipment provided by Germany enabling Israel to perpetrate genocidal acts and other atrocities, included supplies to the front line and warehouses, and assurances of future supplies such as ammunition, technology and diverse components necessary for the Israeli military.” [See PDF of Nicaraguan application.]

Boyle added that he “expects that the ICJ will shortly call for an expedited hearing on the Nicaragua case. I expect Nicaragua will get some sort of provisional measures. It’s noteworthy that this is being done by Nicaragua — my teacher, colleague and friend, Abram Chayes successfully represented Nicaragua in its suit against the U.S. government in the 1980s which was used by the solidarity movement to stop the U.S. attack on Nicaragua then.

“Such legal action is difficult for Nicaragua or any other state to take against the U.S. government now since it has a reservation on Article 9 of the Genocide Convention granting the ICJ powers to adjudicate disputes. Other states backing Israel, like Canada, Britain and other European states, as with Germany, are vulnerable to such suits.”