Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – South Africa’s Townpress reports that Naledi Pandor, the country’s foreign minister, pledged this week to arrest any South African/ Israeli dual citizen who fought in Gaza.

She said at a pro-Palestinian gathering in Pretoria attended by a number of officials from the ruling African National Congress, “I have already issued a statement alerting those who are South African and are fighting alongside or in the Israeli Defense Forces: We are ready. When you come home, we are going to arrest you.”

Minister Pandor also called on people to create posters saying “Stop Genocide” and to demonstrate in front of the embassies of the “five primary supporters” of the Israeli campaign against Gaza. She did not name them but they certainly include the US and Britain.

There are about 70,000 Jews in South Africa, a country of about 60 million. It wasn’t reported how many of them are dual nationals or are serving in the Israeli army.

The South African government took Israel to the International Court of Justice with a charge that Tel Aviv is committing genocide in Gaza. On January 26, the ICJ issued the equivalent of a preliminary injunction against Israel on this charge, admitting its plausibility.

Hindustan Times Video: “South Africa Vows To ‘Punish’ Own Citizens Serving As Soldiers In Israel Army; ‘Will Strip Your…’”

Minister Pandor maintains that she has been the victim of an intimidation campaign, receiving online hate mail with threats of violence against her and her family that required here to request security from the government. She blames, in part, Israeli intelligence for this campaign.

Her ministry, charmingly called “International Relations and Cooperation,” just last week made a further appeal to the International Court of Justice to intervene to halt the starvation of the people of Gaza. It requested the Court to issue instructions to the effect that:

    “All Parties to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide must, forthwith, refrain from any action, and in particular any armed action or support thereof, which might prejudice the right of the Palestinians in Gaza to be protected from acts of genocide and related prohibited acts, or any other rights in respect of whatever judgment the Court may render in the case, or which might aggravate or extend the dispute before the Court or make it more difficult to resolve.

    The State of Israel shall take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address famine and starvation and the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in Gaza, by:

    (a) immediately suspending its military operations in Gaza

    (b) lifting its blockade of Gaza

    (c) rescinding all other existing measures and practices that directly or indirectly have the effect of obstructing the access of Palestinians in Gaza to humanitarian assistance and basic services; and

    (d) ensuring the provision of adequate and sufficient food, water, fuel, shelter, clothing, hygiene and sanitation requirements, alongside medical assistance, including medical supplies and support.

The United Nations has warned that a fourth of the people in Gaza are at imminent risk of starvation.

South Africa’s attempt to rally the signatories of the Convention against Genocide of 1948 against Israeli actions, and its raising of the possibility of jail time for soldiers fighting the total war against Gaza, distinguishes it from most other international actors, who have done no more than express regret the for the over 31,000 Palestinian deaths in the war so far, if they have done that much.

Pandor’s comments raise the question of whether dual nationals serving in the Israeli army could be found guilty of being complicit in genocide if they return to their home countries from Israel after the war. While this outcome is difficult to imagine in the case of US returnees, the question remains open in Europe, which has strong human rights laws and European courts bound by international humanitarian law.