For Israel, the game is up



Fig. 1. “Map of Qing Empire filled with the flag.” Graphic by Daniel222potato [pseud.], via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Ishaan Tharoor, “China decries U.S. ‘bullying.’ But, to many, China is the bully,” Washington Post, March 29, 2024,



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.

The game is up. Israel has lost:

In its legally binding order, the [International Court of Justice] told Israel to take “all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay, in full cooperation with the United Nations, the unhindered provision at scale by all concerned of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance” including food, water, fuel and medical supplies.

The ICJ also ordered Israel to immediately ensure “that its military does not commit acts which constitute a violation of any of the rights of the Palestinians in Gaza as a protected group under the convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, including by preventing, through any action, the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance”.[2]

I’m not quite clear on the relationship between this ruling[3] and the case that South Africa brought to the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of genocide.[4] But with a ruling like this, it’s awfully hard to see how Israel prevails in that case.

Israel needs to comply. It won’t. It’s far too self-righteous to do so. But the writing has been on the wall here for a while now: The world, which has plenty of experience with this sort of thing, simply does not buy Israel’s excuses. And this ruling will only reinforce that skepticism.

Nidal Al-Mughrabi, “Israel pounds Rafah in southern Gaza despite ceasefire calls,” Reuters, March 25, 2024,

Felicia Schwartz, “UN Security Council passes Gaza ceasefire resolution,” Financial Times, March 25, 2024,

Ishaan Tharoor, “The U.S. and Israel have a ‘major credibility problem,’” Washington Post, March 25, 2024,

Karen DeYoung, Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Toluse Olorunnipa, “Biden-Netanyahu rift grows, as Israel cancels delegation visit,” Washington Post, March 26, 2024,

Alon Pinkas, “Netanyahu has been spoiling for a fight with the US. He may not survive this one,” Guardian, March 26, 2024,

Ishaan Tharoor, “U.S. allows U.N. ceasefire vote, but it’s too late for many in Gaza,” Washington Post, March 26, 2024,

Julian Borger, “State department official’s resignation highlights rifts over US Gaza policy,” Guardian, March 27, 2024,

Rory Carroll, “Ireland backs bid to include blocking of aid in definition of genocide,” Guardian, March 27, 2024,

Louis Mian and Benjamin Brown, “‘Reasonable grounds’ to believe Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, UN rights expert says,” CNN, March 27, 2024,

Melanie Swan, “Israel admits it may not be able to destroy Hamas now US has turned its back,” Telegraph, March 27, 2024,

Peter Beaumont and Lorenzo Tondo, “‘Famine is setting in’: UN court orders Israel to unblock Gaza food aid,” Guardian, March 28, 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]Peter Beaumont and Lorenzo Tondo, “‘Famine is setting in’: UN court orders Israel to unblock Gaza food aid,” Guardian, March 28, 2024,
  3. [3]Peter Beaumont and Lorenzo Tondo, “‘Famine is setting in’: UN court orders Israel to unblock Gaza food aid,” Guardian, March 28, 2024,
  4. [4]Jess Bravin, “South Africa Accuses Israel of Genocide in U.N. Court,” Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2024,; Ryan Grim, “South Africa Just Made Its Case at The Hague. What’s Next?” Intercept, January 11, 2024,; Barbara Moens, Jacopo Barigazzi, and Eddy Wax, “South Africa’s genocide case against Israel lays bare Europe’s feeble power,” Politico, January 11, 2024,; Claire Parker and Emily Rauhala to Today’s Worldview list, “What to know about the genocide case against Israel at the ICJ,” Washington Post, January 11, 2024,; Yves Smith, “Israel Capitulates at the Start of International Court of Justice Genocide Hearing,” Naked Capitalism, January 11, 2024,

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