Israel likely to claim ‘self defense’ (in territory it already occupies) before International Court of Justice




Fig. 1. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel,[1] fair use.

An earlier article explaining how Israel would defend itself before the International Court of Justice looked like no defense at all.[2] Julia Ioffe has a somewhat better interview. It’s pro-Israel, as Ioffe is, and denies Palestinians any right of self-defense, while relying on self-defense as a justification for Israel to commit what would otherwise be genocide, and then pans the South African case as “one sided.”[3] But this is what you have to read if you want to understand what Israel’s defense actually looks like.

I think the question here will be whether Israel has a right to make war, ethnically cleanse, and commit genocide in territory it already occupies and which the world generally recognizes as occupied. That makes this case seem a lot weaker.

But Israel will ignore any adverse ruling from the ICJ or anywhere else and any adverse resolutions from the United Nations Security Council or anywhere else, so apart from symbolism, I’m not sure any of this accomplishes much.

David Cohen, “Israel’s president says expelling Palestinians not the plan,” Politico, January 7, 2024,

Wafaa Shurafa, Jack Jeffery, Bassem Mroue, “Israeli strike kills an elite Hezbollah commander in the latest escalation linked to the war in Gaza,” Associated Press, January 8, 2024,

Julia Ioffe, “‘Blood Libel?’: On the Question of Genocide in Gaza,” Puck, January 9, 2024,

  1. [1]Agence France-Presse and Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” Times of Israel, September 12, 2018,
  2. [2]Ron Kampeas, “Israel faces charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice. Here’s why, and how Israel will respond,” i>Jewish Telegraphic Agency, January 4, 2024,
  3. [3]Julia Ioffe, “‘Blood Libel?’: On the Question of Genocide in Gaza,” Puck, January 9, 2024,

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