Israel rebuts South Africa’s genocide allegations at ICJ listening to within the Hague | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

THE HAGUE — Israel on Friday rejected allegations that it’s committing genocide in Gaza, arguing earlier than the International Court of Justice that the hovering dying toll was an unavoidable consequence of its battle in opposition to a militant military that has embedded itself in civilian areas and sought to repeat the Oct. 7 assaults.

In a landmark listening to Thursday, South Africa outlined its declare that Israel’s bombing and siege of Gaza confirmed its “intent” to commit genocide in opposition to Palestinians and urged the court docket to order a cease to the violence.

During three hours of remarks on Friday, the Israeli delegation dismissed the plausibility of genocide in Gaza and stated that ordering Israel to cease navy operations would depart Israeli civilians in danger. They accused South Africa of presenting a “grossly distorted” image by largely ignoring the position of Hamas within the combating and of politicizing the worldwide conference in opposition to genocide.

South Africa “has now sought to invoke this term in the context of Israel’s conduct in a war it did not start and did not want,” Tal Becker, a authorized adviser to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, instructed the court docket, “a war in which Israel is defending itself against Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist organizations whose brutality knows no bounds.”

South Africa presses genocide case in opposition to Israel at worldwide court docket

This week’s hearings is not going to assess whether or not Israel has dedicated genocide. Rather, judges will within the coming days take into account South Africa’s name for provisional measures — interim steps aimed toward stopping issues from getting worse whereas the case performs out.

“At this stage, South Africa does not need to prove that Israel is committing genocide,” stated Juliette McIntyre, a lecturer in regulation on the University of South Australia who makes a speciality of worldwide courts and tribunals. “They simply need to establish that there is a plausible risk of genocide occurring.”

A call on provisional measures is predicted inside weeks.

At the center of South Africa’s case is the assertion that Israel has proven “genocidal intent.” South African legal professionals argued Thursday, for example, that Israeli officers have intentionally used dehumanizing language to normalize “genocidal rhetoric” and incite troopers on the bottom.

Israeli legal professionals on Friday stated South Africa had cherry-picked quotes and brought remarks out of context.

The Israeli delegation additionally cited telephone calls and leafleting to warn Palestinians of incoming airstrikes, evacuation orders and help vehicles coming into Gaza as proof that it doesn’t have genocidal intent.

On Thursday, Blinne Ni Ghralaigh, an Irish lawyer on the South African staff, argued that there’s an pressing want for the court docket to order provisional measures citing the danger of “irreparable” hurt to Palestinians in Gaza. “On average, 247 Palestinians are being killed and are at risk of being killed, each day, many of them literally blown to pieces. They include 48 mothers each day, two every hour. And over 117 children, each day,” she stated.

Omri Sender, representing the Israeli aspect, countered Friday that the situation of urgency shouldn’t be, the truth is, as pressing as South Africa recommended, saying that the “the scope and intensity of the hostilities has been decreasing.”

Christopher Staker, additionally representing Israel, stated South Africa’s name for a provisional order is unwarranted, prejudicial and would hand a bonus to Hamas and hurt Israeli civilians.

The International Court of Justice was established after World War II as a method to settle disputes between nations. In 1948, genocide was made a criminal offense beneath worldwide regulation, and the court docket was empowered to find out whether or not states have dedicated it.

The court docket’s rulings are legally binding however are laborious to implement. For occasion, Russia ignored the ICJ’s order to instantly halt its invasion of Ukraine. Legal analysts stated it might be years earlier than the court docket guidelines on the case.

For many Palestinians, the worldwide airing of South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide in its navy marketing campaign in opposition to Hamas in Gaza was not simply welcome as an opportunity to stem the violence that has killed tens of 1000’s. It was additionally a uncommon public reckoning of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and insurance policies they view as apartheid.

“We feel seen for the first time,” stated Diana Buttu, a Palestinian human rights lawyer and onetime adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. “It was no longer just Palestinians versus Israel; it was another state putting its diplomatic relations on the line to make the case.”

Supporters gathered in Nelson Mandela Square in Ramallah, the West Bank, on Thursday, waving Palestinian and South African flags after a South African authorized staff offered its arguments to the tribunal in The Hague. Social media got here alive with celebratory postings.

The proceedings have been massive information in Israel, the place detailed arguments in opposition to the navy’s actions don’t all the time get a large airing. Commentators principally dismissed the authorized case, saying it largely ignored the brutal Oct. 7 assaults in Israel that killed about 1,200 individuals and swept nearly 250 hostages into Gaza, the place greater than 100 hostages are nonetheless considered remaining.

Buttu, who helped current a case in opposition to the separation boundaries that Israel constructed to isolate West Bank communities, stated a failure to difficulty an order curbing navy actions in Gaza would quantity to a failure of the worldwide authorized system. But even simply having the arguments laid out so methodically quantities to a milestone for Palestinians, she stated.

“It’s already done something important,” she stated. “This isn’t just about the genocide convention; it’s much broader than that.”