News & Commentary

US State Dept refuses to say if they’ll respect forthcoming ICJ order in Israeli genocide case

A Hamas official said they will commit to a ceasefire if ordered, as long as Israel reciprocates

At a press briefing on Thursday, Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel refused to say whether the US State Department will respect the International Court of Justice’s pending order in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel, which is set to be delivered during a public sitting at The Hague on Friday.


“Doesn’t that undermine the US insistence that other countries ought to follow these court rulings?” asked reporter Ryan Grim.

“What does it leave of the ‘rules-based order’ if countries can pick and choose decisions?”

Meanwhile, a senior Hamas representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, said at a press conference on Thursday that they will commit to a ceasefire if ordered by the ICJ at tomorrow’s public sitting, as long as Israel commits as well.

Hamas will also “release the Zionist detainees” they are currently holding “if the occupation state releases all Palestinian detainees” being held in Israel, he said, according to a translation by Al Jazeera.

Additionally, he called for an end to Israel’s blockade, and for countries and organizations around the world to “continue to file lawsuits” with the ICC and ICJ “against the Zionist occupation, as well as its political, security, and military leaders.”

Reuters reporter Simon Lewis asked Patel about Hamas’ pledge to adhere to a mutual ceasefire if ordered, noting: “I haven’t seen that statement from the Israelis…”

In his response, Patel said he takes “issue with” the notion that “Hamas is some kind of fair or credible interlocutor or actor in this.”

Also of note: journalist Sam Husseini went to the State Department press briefing on Wednesday — less than 48 hours before the ICJ’s forthcoming order — but Patel refused to call on him. Likewise for the previous time he went.

Sam is one of the most well-versed journalists in the world on this issue, and his work has been a major driving force behind the movement to invoke the Genocide Convention.

Here is Sam in early November putting the State Dept and US government on notice about their own complicity under the Genocide Convention:

While refusing to call on Sam on Wednesday, Patel gave reporter Alex Raufoglu — seen in two of the screenshots below — three straight questions, then came back to him later for two more, while still not calling on Sam at all.

A few of Raufoglu’s questions:

— “You still haven’t sanctioned Iran’s supreme leader for gross human rights violations (…) Was it a missed opportunity?”

— “Will you take any sanctions against Russia if they keep denying your consular request?”

— “Does the department take any issue with the fact that Apple company just paid $13 million to Russian state budget – the very budget that is being used in Ukraine to murder and terrorize Ukrainians?”

Several other reporters got multiple questions as well, to Sam’s zero.

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