South Africa files ICJ case accusing Israel of ‘genocidal acts’ in Gaza

South Africa also says that Israel has been acting “with the requisite specific intent...to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.”

Updated - January 01, 2024 06:52 pm IST

Published - December 30, 2023 12:01 am IST - THE HAGUE, Netherlands

Destroyed buildings in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel. The army is battling Palestinian militants across Gaza in the war ignited by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack into Israel.

Destroyed buildings in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel. The army is battling Palestinian militants across Gaza in the war ignited by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack into Israel. | Photo Credit: AP

South Africa launched a case on Friday at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel for what it said were “genocidal” acts in Gaza, with Israel rejecting the case “with disgust”.

According to a statement, the ICJ application related to alleged violations by Israel of its obligations under the Genocide Convention, and said that “Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza”.

In The Hague application, South Africa also says that Israel has been acting “with the requisite specific intent...to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.”

Israel rejects charge

Israel rejected the charge, with Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Lior Haiat writing on X, formerly Twitter: “Israel rejects with disgust the blood libel spread by South Africa and its application” to the ICJ.

The war started by the violent Hamas attacks on Israel is nearing its twelfth week, with vast areas of northern Gaza in ruins and Israeli air strikes and ground combat focussing on central and southern districts.

Also Read | Israel-Gaza war: Thousand dead, thousands displaced | Data 

Gunmen of Hamas launched an attack on October 7 that left about 1,140 people dead, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

The Palestinian militants also took about 250 people hostage -- more than half of whom remain captive inside the war zone, some of them believed dead.

Israel’s relentless military campaign since then has killed at least 21,507 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

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