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Israel hit back at ‘genocide’ claims at UN top court

Israel tells ICJ South Africa case makes a mockery of genocide

Israel on Friday hit back at ‘genocide’ claims at UN top court.

Israel defended the military necessity of its Gaza offensive at the International Court of Justice after South Africa asked judges to order it to halt operations in Rafah and completely withdraw from the Palestinian territory.

  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) began two days of hearings on Thursday, when South Africa told the court that Israel intended to “wipe [the Palestinians] off the face of the Earth”, calling Rafah “the final stand”.
  • Lawyers for Israel presented their response to the court on Friday.

Israeli Justice Ministry official Gilad Noam called South Africa’s case, which accuses Israel of violating the Genocide Convention, “completely divorced from facts and circumstances”.

“(The case) makes a mockery of the heinous charge of genocide,” Noam said.

South Africa had maintained that Israel escalated a campaign of “genocide” with its military operation in Rafah.

South African barrister Vaughan Lowe KC told the court that the Rafah campaign was “the last step in the destruction of Gaza and its Palestinian people.”

“It was Rafah that brought South Africa to the court. But it is all Palestinians as a national, ethnic and racial group who need the protection from genocide that the court can order,” he said.

But, delivering Israel’s response, its Deputy Attorney General, Gilad Noam, said that was an inversion of reality.

“South Africa warns this court that, I quote, ‘if Rafah falls, so too does Gaza’. Once again, however, the reality is exactly the opposite,” he said.

“Only by bringing down Hamas’s military stronghold in Rafah will Palestinians be liberated from the clenched grip of the murderous terrorist regime and the road to peace and prosperity may finally be paved.”

Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital, has urged the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to order a stop to the Israeli assault on Rafah.

Israel has previously stressed its “unwavering” commitment to international law and described South Africa’s case as “wholly unfounded” and “morally repugnant”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Rafah offensive in defiance of US warnings that more than a million civilians sheltering there could be caught in the crossfire.

Israel started its attacks on Hamas in Rafah 11 days ago, amid warnings from the UN and others of a grave risk to civilians.

More than a million displaced people have taken refuge in Rafah and more than 630,000 have now fled from there since the start of the operation, according to the UN.

Saman Siddiqui

I am a freelance journalist, holding a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication and an MS in Peace and Conflict Studies, associated with the electronic media industry since 2006 in various capacities. Here at OyeYeah, I cover a range of genres, from journalism to fiction to fashion, including reviews, and fact findings. 

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