THE government of the Republic of South Africa will later this week take its case against Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Across an 84-page submission, it has documented not only the dire circumstances of Palestinians at the hands of a rogue state but also a substantial and well-sourced list of statements showing genocidal intent from senior Israeli politicians and government officials.

It is, in my opinion, a case that no reasonable person could deny – and with the Scottish Parliament returning from recess today, I believe our representatives hold a moral duty to support South Africa, and to join nations such as Malaysia and Jordan in making that support known to the world.

READ MORE: South Africa's 'genocide' case against Israel offers glimmer of hope

The state of Israel has, naturally, responded with its usual approach to handling criticism, dismissing the challenge as “blood libel” – though the fact that it will be finally reneging on its decades-old policy of boycotting the UN’s top court suggest it understands how grounded the findings may be.

It is an unusual case, in that nations accused of genocidal intent usually mask their true reasons, making it harder to prove purpose. With Israel, this does not seem to be the case.

On October 9, 2023, defence minister Yoav Gallant said: “Gaza won’t return to what it was before. We will eliminate everything. If it doesn’t take one day, it will take a week. It will take weeks or even months, we will reach all places.”

On October 11, 2023 Ezra Yachin, a 95-year old Israeli army reservist dressed in fatigues and driven around by the IDF to help “boost morale” among troops, stated: “Be triumphant and finish them off and don’t leave anyone behind.

“Erase the memory of them. Erase them, their families, mothers and children. These animals can no longer live... Every Jew with a weapon should go out and kill them. If you have an Arab neighbour, don’t wait, go to his home and shoot him.

“We want to invade, not like before, we want to enter and destroy what’s in front of us, and destroy houses, then destroy the one after it ... We will witness things we’ve never dreamed of. Let them drop bombs on them and erase them.”

On October 12, 2023, President Isaac Herzog stated there is no distinction to be made between Hamas and the civilian population: “It’s an entire nation out there that is responsible. It’s not true this rhetoric about civilians not aware not involved. It’s absolutely not true ... and we will fight until we break their backbone.”

That is a fraction of what is documented. In the United Kingdom, we don’t need to look far to find the same rhetoric being spewed. On LBC, the Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely claimed there were tunnels under every second house, mosque and school (something Israel has not supplied meaningful evidence to support).

Presenter Iain Dale challenged that her position was an “argument for destroying the whole of Gaza, every single building in it”. Her response: “Do you have another solution?”

When that rhetoric is placed alongside the reports of what is happening to Palestinians, it signals a clear and brutal intent to eliminate a people. South Africa’s document outlines example after example of behaviour that extends well beyond Israel’s well-rehearsed talking points on ‘self-defence’ and ‘minimising civilian casualties’ – stories of a blockade to food and water that have left Palestinians on the brink of famine in just a few short months; the targeted destruction of medical institutions in Gaza and the killing (four a day, on average) and unwarranted detention of doctors and medical practitioners; stories of being told to leave one area for safe zones that, once everyone has gathered, are bombed; and the settler colonial violence of the West Bank.

One doctor described having no choice but to carry out surgery without anaesthetic: “There was a girl with just her whole body covered in shrapnel. She was nine. I ended up having to change and clean these wounds with no anaesthetic and no analgesic. I managed to find some intravenous paracetamol to give her. Her dad was crying, I was crying, and the poor child was screaming.”

There is an urgency to South Africa’s case that calls for the support of all who care for humanity and life – though while Scotland remains a part of the UK and foreign affairs remains outwith the remit of our Parliament, a symbolic gesture of support is likely the extent of what can be done by the Scottish state – though the power of symbols should not be underestimated.

READ MORE: South Africa's 'genocide' case against Israel offers glimmer of hope

After all, Glasgow’s decision to award Nelson Mandela the freedom of the city in 1981 was a symbolic gesture in opposition to apartheid too. Likewise, when the street that housed the South African consulate was renamed Nelson Mandela Place, that too was a statement.

These decisions were made years before Mandela was released from prison, when it was not so easy to make such a stand. And yet, it was the right thing to do then, as it is now the right thing now for our Parliament to stand with South Africa and all people who oppose a genocide in Gaza.

As Western powers bury their heads. South Africa and the people of Palestine should know some are brave enough to stand with them. This is a moment for Scotland to do more than talk about being a progressive force in the world. To let this pass without comment is to condemn ourselves.