Israel responds to ICJ genocide claim

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has rejected South Africa’s claim in the International Court of Justice that it is committing genocide in Gaza 

Israel responds to ICJ genocide claim

The Foreign Ministry also accused South Africa of collaborating with Hamas

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has rejected “with disgust” South Africa’s claim that it is committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, which was filed in the International Court of Justice, in a statement on Friday.

The ministry denounced the assertion that its actions in Gaza are “genocidal in character” as “baseless,” calling the claim an anti-Semitic “blood libel” and accusing South Africa of working with Hamas.

South Africa’s claim has no factual and judicial basis and is a despicable and cheap exploitation of the court,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat said, adding, “South Africa is collaborating with a terror group that calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.” 

Haiat blamed Hamas for the “suffering of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip,” claiming that the militant group is “using them as human shields and stealing humanitarian aid from them.

Israel is committed to international law and acts in accordance with it, and directs its military efforts only against the Hamas terrorist organization and the other terrorist organizations cooperating with Hamas,” he continued, insisting, “Israel has made it clear that the residents of the Gaza Strip are not the enemy, and is making every effort to limit harm to the non-involved.” 

Israel has killed over 21,500 Palestinians in Gaza since October 7, mostly women and children, according to the enclave’s Health Ministry. Over 1.8 million of the territory’s 2.3 million inhabitants have been displaced by Israeli bombing, which current and former Israel Defense Forces officials acknowledge has deliberately targeted civilian sites to increase “civilian pressure” on Hamas. 

South Africa’s filing alleges that “acts and omissions by Israel… are genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent… to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnic group,” accusing the government of violating its obligations under the UN’s Genocide Convention.

The filing seeks “provisional measures” to protect against “further, severe and irreparable harm” to Palestinians in Gaza, including, but not limited to, a ceasefire and the cancelation of any orders aimed at depriving Palestinians of food, water, shelter, fuel, medical supplies, or other humanitarian needs. Those found to have engaged in “direct and public incitement to genocide” must also be punished, it said. 

South Africa’s National Assembly voted last month to suspend diplomatic relations with Israel until it agrees to a ceasefire in Gaza. The country has also recalled its diplomats in protest over Israel’s brutal bombardment of the enclave. 

Last month, South Africa filed a referral to the International Criminal Court, calling for an investigation into alleged war crimes by Israel in Gaza. While West Jerusalem does not recognize the ICC, the court has previously claimed jurisdiction over Gaza and the West Bank.