Hearings Open in Gaza Genocide Case Against Israel: Court to hear Israel and South Africa

South Africa’s arguments will be heard by The International Court of Justice on Thursday and Israel’s response to the allegations on Friday

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In a complaint requesting an immediate halt to Israel’s military operation in Gaza, where it claims Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians, a high court of the UN convened on Thursday to hear arguments. A UN high court convened on Thursday to hear arguments in response to a complaint demanding an immediate cessation of Israel’s military operation in Gaza, where it alleges Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians. Later this month, a decision on the emergency measures is anticipated. The court’s decision about the genocide accusations won’t be made until later; the proceedings may take several years.

“Our opposition to the ongoing slaughter of the people of Gaza has driven us as a country to approach the ICJ,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said of the genocide accusations, rejected by Israel and its top backer, the United States. Carrying Israeli and Dutch flags and banners with pictures of people held captive by Hamas, thousands of pro-Israel demonstrators marched through the city center early on Thursday despite the bitter cold. Gabi Patlis, from Tel Aviv, who now lives in the Netherlands, said it was painful to hear Israel accused of genocide. The court cannot enforce its decisions, but they are final and cannot be challenged.

The allegations are baseless according to Israel

Israel has declared that the charges of genocide are unfounded and has charged Pretoria with acting as the “advocate of the devil” for Hamas, the violent Palestinian Islamist party that it is fighting in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on social media platform X: “I want to make a few points absolutely clear: Israel has no intention of permanently occupying Gaza or displacing its civilian population.” Israel and South Africa are signatories to the 1948 Genocide Convention, which requires them to both prohibit and punish genocide in addition to promising not to commit it. The treaty defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”

Following a cross-border raid on October 7 by fighters from Hamas-ruled Gaza, during which Israel claims 1,200 Palestinians were killed and 240 kidnapped, Israeli forces launched their offensive fighters.

Since then, the offensive has destroyed a large portion of the densely populated Gaza Strip, forcing almost all of its 2.3 million residents to flee their homes at least once and resulting in a humanitarian crisis. Following apartheid, Since Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization supported the African National Congress in its fight against white minority rule, South Africa has stood up for the Palestinian cause.

In its court filings, South Africa asserts that Israel has failed to provide food, water, medicine, and other essentials to the Palestinian enclave. It also calls attention to the current bombing campaign, which has killed over 23,000 people in Gaza, according to health authorities there.

 By: Gursharan Kaur

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