Government never acts fast. Usually government officials don’t act until carefully considering actions and weighing pros and cons – often while polling or using focus groups. So when you see a very fast response to an event, it’s safe to assume that the response is based on prior plans against specific contingencies.

Thus, when the Oct 7th attack happened, Israel responded immediately by bombing Gaza, closing the borders and turning off the water – even as they were fighting Hamas fighters within Israel. The plan on how to attack Gaza was ready and could be implemented on the fly. The actual attack by Hamas was unexpected, and thus it took hours for the IDF to even respond to the phone calls by the victims.

Israel and the United States seemed to be equally prepared on what to do in the likely case that the International Court of Justice enjoined Israel from continuing its genocide of Palestinians through starvation and disease. On the same day that the Court issued its order, Israel released claims that employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) were involved on the October 7th attack. The United States promptly announced that it would suspend all aid to the UNRWA. In the days following, and despite the lack of any investigation or tested evidence to suggest such involvement, severa other countries announced they would no longer fund the UNRWA. Such actions usually only happen when extreme political pressure is applied by the United States – the type of pressure that forced Belgium back in 2003 to limit its universal jurisdiction law -, so it seems clear that the Biden administration is fully committed to accelerate the genocide of Palestinians.

While the intense and unprecedented bombing of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure has brought the most attention and horror to decent human beings worldwide, Israel’s main method for genocide is actually, in the words of the Genocide Convention, the infliction of “conditions of life calculated to bring about [the] physical destruction” of the Palestinian people in Gaza. From the start, Israel cut off the water and electricity and bombed electricity plans and water tanks. It closed its borders with Gaza and started bombing Gaza’s border with Egypt. It targeted hospitals and doctors, as well as journalists who could speak out about the suffering of the Palestinian people. Israel turned Gaza into a 21st century version of the Warsaw Ghetto. Genocide through starvation and disease can be very effective – about a million of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, were killed that way.

Israel and the United States engaged in a wide influence campaign both against South Africa for bringing the genocide case to the ICJ, and against the judges of the ICJ itself. Still, while the two countries probably hoped for a much narrower order – the one issued prohibits Israel from killing or harming Palestinians -, they did anticipate that the order would address the siege. It’s usually quite difficult to prove that an attack against a civilian population is a genocide, as genocide requires an intent to destroy a national or ethnic population, and usually you don’t have genocidaires announcing to the world their intentions to do exactly that – though helpfully for the Court, several Israeli ministers did exactly that. But there are times when you can infer a genocidal intention based on the actions. In the words of former International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, “there is an objective element of genocide when you create conditions that will produce the destruction of a group. To not allow water, food and fuel through is to turn all of Gaza into an extermination camp.” Thus Israel and the United States were justified in believing that the ICJ would order Israel to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. Indeed, in the weeks since the ICJ took the case, Israel had been allowing more aid in, albeit insufficient to actually provide for the needs of most people. Starvation has set in in much of the territory as we speak.

As expected, the ICJ ordered Israel to “take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.” Israel and the US can’t stop aid from coming into Gaza without violating the ICJ order, so they decided to do the next best thing: defund the organization which actually provides such aid to Palestinians. They won’t bomb the trucks with aid, they’ll just make sure there are not trucks in the first place.

Now, it’s likely that in one month, when the ICJ receives (or not) the report it ordered to issue on how it’s complying with its order, the ICJ will issue another order, perhaps one with more teeth, but by then, tens if not hundreds of thousands of Palestinians may be dead. What Biden and Netanyahu seek. What they conspired to accomplish. What the world is letting them do.