A leading Palestinian-led community advocacy group has joined a chorus of voices calling for the New Zealand government to back an International Court of Justice case alleging that Israel has committed genocide in Gaza.
Justice for Palestine – which organises meetings, rallies, and cultural events to promote justice, peace, and freedom for the Palestinian people – is calling on New Zealanders to attend a gathering at 12.30pm on Thursday 11 January in front of 36 Brandon Street, Wellington.
Both the South African High Commission and the Israeli Embassy are in this building, and on Thursday evening (NZ time) the International Court of Justice case will commence.
Samira Zaiton, spokesperson for Justice for Palestine, says: “On different sides of this same building in central Wellington we have two countries participating in this landmark case.”
Zaiton adds: “New Zealand cannot sit on the fence when we have credible accounts of genocide in Gaza documented by reputable human rights organisations.”
Zaiton says: “We want to send a message from the Palestinian community in New Zealand, through Justice for Palestine, that New Zealand must back the South African position, to ensure we see an immediate end to the unspeakable atrocities perpetrated by Israel in Gaza.”
Justice for Palestine’s call follows a letter sent last week by 10 senior lawyers and senior legal academics, including two King’s Counsel, urging the Government to back the South African case against Israel in the International Court of Justice.
That letter observed that New Zealand has a history of supporting the International Court of Justice, including by calling for its creation. The letter pointed out that New Zealand used the same mechanism used by South Africa when challenging French nuclear testing in the ICJ in 1973, and that New Zealand intervened in the Ukraine-Russia case on genocide in 2022.
On Tuesday this week a progressive Jewish New Zealand group, Dayenu, called for the Government to lend its weight to South Africa’s claim. Yesterday the Labour Party also called for the Government to support South Africa’s case.
South Africa has alleged that Israel has engaged in genocidal acts, has failed to prevent genocide, and has failed to prosecute incitement to genocide, in its submissions to the Court.
The International Court of Justice hearing will be livestreamed at 10am The Hague time (10pm New Zealand time) on Thursday 11 January and Friday 12 January.