In finding there is a plausible case against Israel, the International Court of Justice treated with contempt the argument from Israel that the case should be dismissed as it is exercising its right of self-defence. This argument took up over half of Israel’s pleadings. Not only did the court find there is a plausible case of genocide, the court only mentioned self-defence once in its interim ruling – and that was merely to note that Israel had claimed it. Para 41:
That the ICJ has not affirmed Israel’s right to self-defence is perhaps the most important point in this interim order. It is the dog that did not bark. The argument which every western leader has been using is spurned by the ICJ.
Now the ICJ did not repeat that an occupying power has no right of self-defence. It did not need to. It simply ignored Israel’s specious assertion.
It could do that because what it went on to iterate went way beyond any plausible assertion of self-defence. What struck me most about the ICJ ruling was that the Order went into far more detail about the evidence of genocide than it needed to. Its description was stark.
Here Para 46 is crucial
The reason this is so crucial, is that the Court is not saying that South Africa asserts this. The Court is saying these are the facts.