Namibia has disapproved of Germany's decision to step in on behalf of Israel in a case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), where South Africa has accused Israel of committing genocide in Gaza.
President Hage Geingob urged Germany to reconsider its involvement, citing the historical context of Germany's acknowledgement of genocide in Namibia in 2021. During the period from 1904 to 1908, German colonizers perpetrated what historians consider the 20th century's first genocide, resulting in the massacre of over 70,000 Herero and Nama people.
President Geingob argued that Germany's moral commitment to the United Nations Convention against genocide, including atonement for the Namibian genocide, conflicted with its support for Israel. He stated that the German government had yet to fully address its historical wrongdoing in Namibia.
Germany, however, dismissed the genocide accusation against Israel, characterizing it as a "political instrumentalization" of the UN genocide convention. The German government emphasized its commitment to the convention, given its historical responsibility stemming from the Holocaust.
In response to the accusations, Germany highlighted the recent conflict triggered by Hamas's attack on Israel in October. The government argued that Israel, acting in self-defence, faced an existential threat from Hamas, an organization aiming to destroy the country.
The ongoing conflict has claimed numerous lives on both sides. According to the Hamas-run health ministry, nearly 24,000 people, primarily children and women, have lost their lives in Israel's retaliatory attacks on Gaza since October.
Concerns about a potential famine and the spread of disease among displaced people in Gaza have been raised by the UN and humanitarian organizations, urging the allowance of more aid into the territory.
South Africa initiated the case at the ICJ, presenting a comprehensive list of alleged Israeli offences, including the indiscriminate killing of Palestinian civilians and the widespread destruction of Gaza's infrastructure. Israel vehemently denies these allegations, labeling them as "baseless" and countering that, if anyone is guilty of genocide, it is Hamas.
The ICJ will now play a crucial role in determining the validity of South Africa's claims and shedding light on the complexities surrounding the Israel-Gaza conflict.