Dr. Gashaw Teshome Mengesha

This piece is prompted by South Africa's recent diplomatic initiative to present the peace crisis in Israel to the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands, and the moral implications surrounding it.

South Africa has accused Israel of "committing genocide" during its Gaza war, as reported by Mike Corder and RAF CASERT from the Associated Press (AP) on January 15 at 4:00 AM UTC+2. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in response to South Africa's diplomatic actions, characterized them as "hypocritical." The Prime Minister expressed his concern that the world may have a distorted view of the situation in Gaza, stating:

"This is an upside-down world — the state of Israel is accused of genocide while it is fighting genocide," In a televised statement, he also added, "The hypocrisy of South Africa screams to the heavens."

I will address the criticism aimed at South Africa and shed light on instances of diplomatic hypocrisy. To bolster this argument, I will scrutinize the simultaneous unfolding of two major large-scale conflicts: the Ethiopian conflict in Africa and the Gaza conflict in the Middle East. Furthermore, I will delve into two pivotal aspects of diplomatic initiatives led by the Republic of South Africa (RSA).

The "Pretoria Peace Deal" has brought together politicians in Ethiopia who are accused of being Partners-in-Genocide-crime. Simultaneously, there's a legal action against Israel at the ICJ by RSA, alleging "Genocide" against Palestinians. I will closely examine South African diplomacy's reluctance to bring Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his associates to the ICJ for the genocide, which caused the loss of millions of lives, surpassing even the scale of the 1990s Genocide in Rwanda. Additionally, I will emphasize the importance of an ecological approach to establishing lasting peace and draw insights from Amhara Fano's method of resistance, rooted in human love and mercy.

Gaza: The' What' of the tragedy and blaming the victim?

Every individual must condemn all acts of violence and the massacre of innocent civilians. Over the decades, conflicts such as the Palestinian Intifada conducted by different groups, including the PLO, and Hamas's pursuit of a violent and radical anti-Israel resistance have resulted in a lack of empathy for civilians on the opposing side.

In a recent incident, approximately 1200 Israeli civilians were shot and killed by Hamas infiltrators in Israel. Despite the severity of these attacks, the world's response seemed to normalize it as just another chapter in the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict. However, from the perspective of Israel, these attacks were unprovoked and amounted to war, given the unprecedented death toll in all Israeli-Palestinian encounters.

Prime Minister Netanyahu emphasized that Hamas made a historical mistake, holding it responsible for inciting war through mass killings of Israeli and other countries' citizens. It's essential to acknowledge that war has its trajectory, leading to increased civilian casualties, especially when evacuation warnings are defied or when one party uses human shields to discredit its opponent. In many instances, militant forces exploit human suffering for their diplomatic and political campaigns or to escalate conflicts to the international level.

In recently released video footage from incidents inside Israel, masked Hamas forces were observed using drones and indiscriminately firing at innocent civilians gathered for a weekend music festival. The disturbing aspect of the story reveals that Hamas conducted door-to-door operations, targeting Israelis in their homes and taking them hostages. The group's operational tactics focused on innocent civilians as soft targets rather than the Israeli military, seemingly aiming to garner support for Hamas both within and outside of Palestine.

On the other hand, Hamas, the group that targeted civilians to escalate the conflict in Gaza, later utilized the civilian victimhood card to garner international condemnation against Israel. The apparent intention of Hamas was the immediate and widespread extermination of Jews. Their door-to-door terror campaign is described by some as "genocide," irrespective of scale. The troubling aspect is that innocent civilians have become pawns in political and diplomatic maneuvers, fueling the flames of war and sustaining a narrative of victimhood. These are some of the concealed facts considered in the decision-making processes of RSA lawyers bringing the case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which has rendered the entire argument a 'singular story."

Diplomatic interventions in such a viciously circular situation must carefully analyze the cause-and-effect dynamics of the tragedy. It is crucial to avoid initiating the narrative from the middle or selecting advantageous points for argumentation. The primary motivation should be the creation of durable solutions to the problem. Blaming the victim is unlikely to lead to lasting resolutions for Palestinian questions. A comprehensive understanding of the root causes is essential for any diplomatic efforts aimed at addressing and resolving the ongoing issues.

Pretoria Peace Accord: Unmasking Ongoing Amhara Genocide in Ethiopia.

South Africa played a significant role in bringing attention to Israel's conflict with Hamas, shedding light on the war's complexities and retaliatory actions.

In the context of the Pretoria Peace Deal, RSA appears to have succumbed to external influences by not fostering an all-inclusive peace dialogue concerning Ethiopia. Within Africa, a distressing Amhara-Ethiopian genocide is unfolding, resulting in the loss of over 7 million lives, with the lives of another 11 million people at risk due to starvation. Numerous concentration camps are scattered across the country, with the dire situation awaiting verification by any international fact-finding mission.

The victims of this atrocity are predominantly ethnic Amharas, the Semitic People of Africa, as well as other smaller pro-Ethiopian Unity tribes. The orchestrator of these heinous acts is the current government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has been labeled the 'Hitler of Africa' due to his anti-Semitic genocidal campaign. His focus is on eradicating the Amharas, perceived as a challenge to his project of dismantling Ethiopia in favor of creating a Cush Empire led by Oromo Islamic Fundamentalist Power OLF/OPDP/OPP in East Africa. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's ruthless campaign involves invading key Amhara-populated areas, including Gojam, Gonder, Wollo, Shewa, and parts of present-day Tigray, leading to indiscriminate massacres through drone attacks. The OLF and OPDO coalition are actively committing genocide in rural areas, a tragic reality often overlooked by mainstream international media.

In Amhara, the invading army known as "Gaachenna Siirrna" of Oromos has ruthlessly executed people in the streets, churches, schools, and gathering places. Thousands of children, women, and youth have suffered horrifying fates, their bodies bulldozed and discarded into mass graves throughout settlement areas like Wellega, Arsi, Bale, and parts of Shewa.

Oromo militias, camouflaged within the Ethiopian Defense Force (ENDF) fatigue, constitute 90% of the force and persist in terrorizing and committing mass murders against Amhara youth. Disturbingly, we are witnessing daylight executions of Amhara youth in various cities, including Bahir Dar, Gondar, Debre Markos, and even in Addis Ababa, where numerous embassies, including the South African Embassy, are located.

The African Union remains conspicuously silent on the unfolding Amhara genocide in Ethiopia, where ongoing atrocities are occurring under the pretext of a state of Emergency. The all-too-familiar methods of covering up genocide persist, with a lack of decisive action by those who should be the voices of reason. South Africa, as a key player, could have taken a more assertive stance to halt the Amhara Genocide in Ethiopia and spearheaded the indictment charge against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed at the International Court.

If there is no distinction made between African and Palestinian lives, then the Israeli Prime Minister's statement, 'The hypocrisy of South Africa screams to the heavens,' regarding South African engagement with the International Criminal Court (ICC), holds weight.

As previously mentioned, the intent of this writing was not to delve into the ongoing debate surrounding the moral complexities of how combative forces in Gaza are conducting their wars. Instead, the focus remains on the remarkably bold move made by South African diplomatic officials in bringing the Gaza case to the ICC and labeling it as' genocide.' This move has elicited diverse reactions, juxtaposing this international engagement against the backdrop of human suffering on their continent, which seems to be "screaming to the heavens."

What makes the motion strange is the apparent disparity it creates in the value of lives attached to the victims of genocide (between African and Middle Eastern ones).

South Africa's recent actions have prompted many questions among African people. These include concerns about whether the Republic of South African diplomatic decision-makers genuinely care about the term "genocide" in its truest sense. If they do, have they witnessed the active genocide spots within Africa? Are they aware that the Amhara Genocide has escalated to its most severe stage in Ethiopia, claiming more than 6 million lives and persisting as we write this?

Furthermore, questions arise about whether they deliberately ignored the ongoing Amhara genocide. Do they realize that the current Prime Minister of Ethiopia is accountable for the deaths of over 3 million people in the last five years through a well-planned and executed war in the Amhara region? Are they informed that 11 million Amharas are in concentration camps, forcibly evacuated from their villages by Oromo Political Leadership that declared a genocidal war against the Amhara population, including children, women, the elderly, and civilian youth? Lastly, are they aware that the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Ethiopia are grappling with famine caused by these tragic circumstances?

If South African diplomacy extends its reach to the Middle East, it must also prioritize addressing the genocidal and humanitarian crises within Africa. This is crucial to prevent accusations of hypocrisy and ensure a consistent and principled approach across regions.

Where lies the Hypocrisy: In Comparative Perspective (The Pretoria Peace Deal and Suing Israel at ICJ)?

The "Pretoria Peace Deal," mediated by the Republic of South Africa (RSA), has drawn attention for excluding the peaceful Amhara Fanos, recognized as Freedom Fighters, from the negotiations. These fighters have been active in defending victims of the ongoing genocide in Ethiopia. However, the exclusion has raised concerns about the comprehensiveness of the peace agreement. However, RSA took a firm stance at the International Criminal Court (ICJ) against Israel, implicitly supporting Hamas – a group responsible for a surprise, unprovoked attack on Israeli civilians, sparking the war. This support appears to condone Hamas' impunity in provoking conflict and massacring civilians in Israel. It raises concerns about the bias of applying international law and the principles of peace creation in both the Middle East and Africa.

A noticeable pattern emerges in both the Pretoria Peace Deal and the International Criminal Court (ICJ) case, where victims appear to be overlooked, contributing to confusion and fostering negative public opinion. In the ICJ case, the Israeli government is accused despite its citizens being the victims of unprovoked attacks. Similarly, in Ethiopia, where Amhara citizens are victims of ongoing genocide, the government of Ethiopia has not been indicted. The Pretoria Peace Deal, raises questions about the comprehensive addressing of the issues at hand. This situation highlights the complexities and potential shortcomings in addressing the plight of victims within the frameworks of international agreements and legal proceedings.

If South Africa aimed to stand for innocent victims, it should have advocated for the Amharas of Ethiopia to avoid any perception of hypocrisy. The world has witnessed consistency in South Africa's diplomatic engagement in preventing and punishing genocide crimes globally. Surprisingly, RSA risked its historically strong relations with Israel and its allies by not holding Hamas accountable for its role in creating the tragedy in Gaza.

In the case of the genocide in Ethiopia, there is a blatant distortion of reality as war criminals were treated as peace partners in the Pretoria Peace Deal, which resulted in a pseudo 'cease-fire' that never materialized. The ongoing genocide against the Semitic Amhara people persists even in the presence of South African diplomatic representation in Ethiopia.

It begs the question: Where has South African Diplomacy gone when millions are confined to concentration camps, and the grim reality is shielded from international fact-finding missions under the pretext of an active emergency law?

Are African lives considered less valuable in the eyes of the International Criminal Court (ICJ) lawyers from South Africa compared to Palestinian lives?

South Africa should urgently dispatch a fact-finding mission to Ethiopia, particularly in the Amhara areas, to investigate whether the government of Ethiopia, led by Prime Minister Abiy, is indeed responsible for the ongoing genocide. The Amhara issue must take center stage on the global agenda. Failure to address this demand from the African population could leave an indelible scar on South African foreign relations and policy.


Is RSA Releasing "Barabbas and Crucifying Jesus"?

According to the Lamkin Institute Report (December 2023), there are currently eight active genocides occurring worldwide, with Congo, Ethiopia, and South Sudan experiencing the highest levels of extermination. These regions of profound human suffering and tragedy desperately need South Africa's leadership. The citizens of Africa merit the leadership and support of South Africa amid these challenging times, especially those nations suffering from conflicts and massacres.

Given the historical bond between South Africa and Ethiopia, where Ethiopia supported the liberation struggle and provided military training to anti-apartheid militants, there is a compelling case for South Africa to take the ongoing Amhara Genocide to the International Criminal Court (ICJ). The sponsorship would align with South Africa's historical ties and help counter allegations of "hypocrisy" internationally. It is not too late for South Africa to use its influence to address the Ethiopian genocide situation. The honorable course of action is to focus on Africa, with an immediate stop to the Amhara genocide.

South Africa has a moral obligation to prioritize African issues and demonstrate its commitment to addressing the humanitarian crises within the continent.

By Dr. Gashaw Teshome Mengesha (PhD)

Dr. Gashaw Mengesha has a Ph.D. in Sustainable Development from the University of Kwa-Zulu-Natal (UKZN) Durban, an M.So.Sc., Master of Arts Degree in International Relations and Peace Creation from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and B.So.Sc. in Development Studies from the University of Helsinki.

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