Gaza Strip: Israel Rejects Accusation of Committing Genocide

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Israel has rejected accusations of committing genocide in the Gaza Strip, while arguing before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that its military operations in the city of Rafah were self-defence.

The case brought by South Africa was a “distortion of reality,” the head of Israel’s delegation, Gilad  Noam, said on Friday in the courtroom in the Peace Palace in The Hague.

South Africa was abusing international law in a “despicable and cynical manner,” according to Noam.

At the end of the hearing, one of Israel’s legal representatives was interrupted as a woman shouted “Liar” before being led out by security staff.

As part of its genocide complaint, South Africa is calling in an urgent appeal for the top UN court to order Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

The ICJ must stop the ongoing genocide against the Palestinian population, according to the appeal, while Israel should grant unhindered access to investigators, media and humanitarian aid.

South Africa’s suit cites the immeasurable suffering and almost total destruction of towns and hospitals in the Gaza Strip.

The reason for the urgent application is the Israeli military offensive in Rafah that began on May 6.

The city in the south of the coastal strip is the “last refuge” for some 1.5 million Palestinians who are concentrated there and whose lives were in danger, South Africa’s legal representatives told the court.

The Israeli delegation in turn told the judges that Rafah was a “Hamas military stronghold” that was firing rockets at Israel and that Hamas is also still holding numerous hostages.

Israel is also providing humanitarian aid and doing everything it can to protect the civilian population, the representatives said.

The Gaza war was triggered by the massacre of around 1,200 people in southern Israel by fighters from Hamas and allied groups on October 7.

dpa/NAN

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