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ICJ’s Decisions on Gaza: Political Equivocation and Double Standards

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Eng. Saleem Al Batayneh

The ongoing story of Palestine continues to haunt the human conscience, with its narrative being written and rewritten throughout history. While many have told their versions of the story, the true story, unknown to most, has been crafted behind closed doors. This article aims to transcend history, economics, and analysis, focusing instead on matters of conscience.
One question arises: How do Arab leaders perceive their regional environment and national security? Why did South Africa take action while Arab and Islamic nations remained inactive? The non-Arab head of state in South Africa has put many leaders in the Arab and Islamic world in a major dilemma, one for which history will hold them accountable. Shouldn’t these 22 Arab countries and 57 Islamic countries, with their geography, demographics, and wealth, be ashamed to fall behind countries that prioritize humanity over religion and nationalism?
The current state of affairs in the Arab world is part of a specific context in which Arab regimes bear the greatest responsibility. They play roles tied to other interests, particularly those dependent on America, the West, and Israel. The reality speaks for itself, providing conclusive evidence for this claim.
On Friday, January 26, 2024, the world eagerly awaited the decisions of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding temporary measures in the case brought by South Africa against Israel concerning Gaza. Unfortunately, the decision fell short of expectations, dashing the hopes of many and leaving the people of Gaza in despair. The Hague Court’s decision was marked by double standards, appearing as a covert political evasion that could serve Israel if the file were transferred to the UN Security Council. The court did not grant South Africa’s urgent request for a ceasefire, as it had previously done for Ukraine and Myanmar (formerly Burma).
How can we prevent genocide without demanding an end to the barbaric war machine? We must not allow illusions and dreams to blind us to the realities imposed by shameful international political realism. Israel continues to impose its will on the world without facing any significant resistance. The court’s decision brought great relief to Israel since it did not explicitly demand a ceasefire. This was highlighted in the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, which stated, “An achievement for Israel in The Hague. The court rejected South Africa’s main request to stop the war.”
This play, with its never-ending chapters, continues to unfold. The language of the Arabs now appears more ambiguous, pragmatic, and subservient. They are heading towards a deep abyss, the depths of which remain unknown. The prevailing circumstances push in one direction, leading to an escalation of conflicts, particularly in hotspots where violence and anger deepen. As a result, the Arab situation and Arab-Arab relations are likely to deteriorate further, plagued by discord, distance, weakness, and disintegration within the Arab world.
Considering the aftermath of Gaza, it is evident that the Arabs will not emerge unscathed. History will record that Gaza was annihilated while surrounded by 21 Arab countries that stood idle. It will be written that Israel was certain of the Arabs’ reaction, which amounted to nothing more than empty words on paper. The people of the world recognized the cleansing and genocide occurring in Gaza, leading to demonstrations in their capitals, and challenging their regimes that support Israel with unwavering determination.
Yet, we must remember, as readers of history, that history will also record that Gaza, besieged for 17 years, managed to stand up against an army feared by the majority of Arab armies.

Eng. Al Batayneh is a former member of the Jordanian Parliament