THE HAGUE: Israel on Friday rejected as false and “grossly distorted” accusations introduced by South Africa on the UN’s high court docket that its army operation in Gaza is a state-led genocide marketing campaign in opposition to the Palestinian inhabitants.
It known as on judges to dismiss South Africa’s request to halt its offensive, saying to take action would go away it defenseless.
South Africa, which filed the lawsuit on the Worldwide Court docket of Justice (ICJ) in December, requested judges in The Hague on Thursday to impose emergency measures ordering Israel to right away halt the offensive.
It stated Israel’s aerial and floor offensive — which has laid waste to a lot of the enclave and killed greater than 23,000 folks, based on Gaza well being authorities — aimed to result in “the destruction of the inhabitants” of Gaza.
The Israeli overseas ministry’s authorized adviser, Tal Becker, advised the court docket that South Africa’s interpretation of occasions was “grossly distorted.”
“If there have been acts of genocide, they’ve been perpetrated in opposition to Israel,” he stated. “Hamas seeks genocide in opposition to Israel.”
The 1948 Genocide Conference, enacted within the wake of the mass homicide of Jews within the Nazi Holocaust, defines genocide as “acts dedicated with intent to destroy, in complete or partly, a nationwide, ethnical, racial or spiritual group.”
Israel launched its conflict in Gaza after a cross-border rampage on Oct. 7 by militants from Hamas, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction. Israeli officers stated 1,200 folks have been killed, primarily civilians, and 240 taken hostage again to Gaza.
“The appalling struggling of civilians, each Israeli and Palestinian, is before everything the results of Hamas’ technique,” Becker stated, saying that Israel had a proper to defend itself.
Hamas denies Israeli allegations that its militants disguise amongst civilians, who account for a lot of the casualties in Gaza.
“Israel is in a conflict of protection in opposition to Hamas, not in opposition to the Palestinian folks,” Becker stated. “The important thing part of genocide, the intent to destroy a folks in complete or partly, is completely missing.”
Israel argued that this meant the court docket has no jurisdiction underneath the Genocide Conference to order it to halt its army actions in Gaza.
“That is no genocide, South Africa tells us solely half the story,” lawyer Malcolm Shaw stated.
The court docket is predicted to rule on potential emergency measures later this month however won’t rule at the moment on the genocide allegations. These proceedings might take years. The ICJ’s choices are ultimate and with out enchantment, however the court docket has no strategy to implement them.
Palestinian backers with flags marched by means of The Hague and watched proceedings on an enormous display in entrance of the Peace Palace. Because the Israeli delegation spoke in court docket, they chanted: “Liar! Liar!“
Requested what she considered Israel’s arguments that the Gaza marketing campaign was a matter of self-defense, Neen Haijjawi, a Palestinian who just lately got here to Netherlands stated: “How can an occupier that’s been oppressing folks for 75 years say it’s self-defense?“
Israeli supporters have been holding a separate gathering of members of the family of hostages taken by Hamas.
Israel has stated South Africa was performing as a mouthpiece for Islamist Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist group by the US, the European Union, Britain and a number of other different nations. South Africa has rejected that accusation.
Since Israeli forces began their offensive, almost all of Gaza’s 2.3 million folks have been pushed from their properties at the least as soon as, resulting in a humanitarian disaster.
Publish-apartheid South Africa has lengthy advocated the Palestinian trigger, a relationship cast when the African Nationwide Congress’ wrestle in opposition to white-minority rule was supported by Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Group.
“My grandfather all the time regarded the Palestinian wrestle as the best ethical situation of our time,” Mandla Mandela, a grandson of the late South Africa president Nelson Mandela, stated at a rally in assist of the Palestinians in Cape City.