Israel rejects genocide claims at UN court, refuses to halt operations in Gaza

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Israel rejects genocide claims at UN court, refuses to halt operations in Gaza

During the second and last day of public hearings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Friday in The Hague, Israel denied committing genocide in the Gaza Strip as alleged by South Africa and refused to halt its military operations, reported Xinhua.

On May 10, South Africa filed a request to the Court to introduce additional provisional measures and to modify existing rulings applied in the case concerning the application of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip.

During the first day of the hearings on Thursday, South Africa argued that it was a matter of "extreme urgency" that Israel must immediately cease all military operations in Gaza.

South Africa's Ambassador to the Netherlands Vusimuzi Madonsela told the judges that his country had returned to the court "due to the continuing annihilation of the Palestinian people, with over 35,000 now killed, and most of Gaza reduced to rubble."

With South Africa's initial application to the ICJ on Dec. 29, 2023, the judges have issued an order to Israel on Jan. 26 this year to take all measures within its power to prevent genocide, to ensure that its military does not commit genocide, to halt incitement against Palestinians as a group, to preserve evidence and to take immediate measures to ensure humanitarian aid.

After that, South Africa made subsequent requests in February and March 2024 for additional provisional measures to halt Israel's "persistent acts of genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza." At the end of March, the judges of the ICJ ordered Israel to, among other things, ensure, without delay, the unhindered provision at scale, by all concerned, of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance.

"South Africa had hoped, when we last appeared before this court, to halt this genocidal process to preserve Palestine and its people," Madonsela told the court on Thursday. "Instead, Israel's genocide has continued and has just reached a new and horrific stage."

Madonsela urged the court to order Israel to cease its military operations in Gaza, including in Rafah, and withdraw its troops from the entire Gaza Strip.

Additionally, the ambassador called for Israel to take "all effective measures" to ensure unimpeded access to Gaza for the United Nations and humanitarian aid.

Professor Vaughan Lowe added on behalf of South Africa that if the court did not act now, "the possibility of rebuilding a viable Palestine society in Gaza will be destroyed."

Lowe continued by saying that Israel might invoke its right to self-defense, "but that does not give a state a license to use unlimited violence against an entire population, it does not give a state the right to commit genocide."

On Friday, Israeli Justice Ministry official Gilad Noam told the judges that Israel has been involved in a "tragic war" to defend itself, and denied South Africa's "allegations regarding genocide."

He also accused South Africa of being an ally to Hamas, denying all claims and requests.

"South Africa presents the court yet again with a picture that is completely divorced from the facts and circumstances," he said.

Israeli lawyer Tamar Kaplan Tourgeman emphasized Israel's "inherent right to defend itself," and urged the court to reject South Africa's request.

The concluding words of the delegation of Israel were shortly interrupted when a woman shouted "liars, liars" through the courtroom in the Peace Palace.

ICJ President Nawaf Salam concluded the hearings by saying the court would render its order at a public sitting "as soon as possible."

As the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, the ICJ was established by the UN Charter in 1945. It has the power "to indicate, if it considers that circumstances so require, any provisional measures," while resolving legal disputes between countries. Its judgment is final and without appeal.


  1. EmilySmith says

    Do the judges at the International Court of Justice have any evidence supporting the claims of genocide in Gaza, or is it solely based on allegations made by South Africa?

    1. SamuelJohnson says

      EmilySmith, the judges at the International Court of Justice consider various forms of evidence when evaluating claims, including testimonies, documented incidents, expert analyses, and legal arguments presented by the involved parties. While South Africa may have initiated the case and raised the allegations, the court will assess all evidence before reaching a conclusion. It’s a complex legal process that aims to ensure justice and accountability.

  2. EmilyJones84 says

    It’s concerning to see the ongoing conflict in Gaza but I believe Israel has the right to defend itself and its people. Accusations of genocide should be thoroughly investigated, but halting military operations may not be the solution to achieving peace in the region.

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