Israel is set to defend itself on Thursday, the 11th of January, in a two-day hearing at the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague against charges of genocide in Gaza brought by South Africa in December, reports Reuters.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday that South Africa opposes the Gaza conflict and that is why it has taken the case to the ICJ.
SOUTH AFRICA HAS SUBMITTED AN 84-PAGE DOCUMENT ACCUSING ISRAEL OF GENOCIDE,
alleging that Israel’s actions in Gaza, which have resulted in deaths, serious harm and conditions conducive to physical destruction, violate the 1948 Genocide Convention.
According to Reuters, the 1948 treaty defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”.
Ramaphosa has stressed that he is “on the right side of history” in the light of what South Africa experienced in the past. Reuters explains that for almost half a century until 1994, South Africa’s white minority imposed harsh rule on the black majority as part of the apartheid system of racial separation.
ISRAEL AND THE UNITED STATES HAVE DENIED THESE ACCUSATIONS,
US State Department spokesman Matt Miller said the genocide allegations were unfounded and stressed Israel’s right to self-defence against terrorism, while urging Israel to protect Palestinian civilians.
Israeli government spokesman Eilon Levy announced before the ICJ hearing that Israel would appear in court to counter South Africa’s “absurd blood libel”, accusing South Africa of providing political and legal cover for the alleged actions of the “rape regime” of Hamas.
THE HEARINGS WILL FOCUS ON SOUTH AFRICA’S REQUEST FOR AN EMERGENCY ORDER,
requesting Israel to suspend military activities in Gaza while the court considers the case. The process of determining the merits of the case may take several years, writes Reuters.
Amnesty International has stated that it has not unequivocally determined whether the situation in Gaza amounts to genocide, but stressed that the increasing scale of destruction is showing worrying signs and threatening the survival of the people of Gaza. The organisation also expressed concern about the increase in dehumanising and racist rhetoric against Palestinians by some Israeli government and military officials.
Israel launched the offensive after Hamas militants staged an attack on the 7th of October that Israel claims killed 1 200 and captured 240, while Palestinian officials claim that Israel has since killed 23 000 Palestinians.
Also read: With killing of Hamas leader Gaza war spreads to Lebanon
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