Israel to defend itself after South Africa files ICJ case accusing it of genocide as many hail SA’s legal move

People inspect the rubble of a building where the displaced Palestinian Jabalieh family were sheltering after it was hit by Israeli bombardment.

Israel vows to fight at the highest United Nations (UN) court after South Africa has filed a case last week at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accusing Israel of committing “genocidal” acts in Gaza.

Eylon Levy, speaking on behalf of Israel, addressed South African leaders, warning them that history would judge their actions without mercy and condemned the claims as an “absurd blood libel”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also rejected South Africa’s allegations, asserting that it was Hamas perpetrating genocide.

According to Gaza’s health ministry, over 22,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have lost their lives in Israeli strikes. Israeli officials said that the attack by Hamas resulted in the death of about 1,200 people.

South Africa’s presidency, justifying its move, stated that the country was obligated “to prevent genocide from occurring”.

The 84-page document submitted to the ICJ claims that Israel’s “acts and omissions” were “genocidal in character” with the intent to destroy a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial, and ethnical group.

The case is scheduled to be heard on January 11 and 12, as South African government lawyers prepare for a legal showdown at the Hague-based ICJ.

This legal battle came as Israel was already under investigation by the ICJ, initiated by the Palestinians, focusing on the “prolonged occupation, settlement, and annexation” of Palestinian territory.

In a show of support for South Africa’s legal action, the United Ulama Council of South Africa, representing the country’s Muslim community, expressed unequivocal support for the move.

They highlight the sanctity of life across religions and condemn the war crimes committed against the innocent population of Palestine.

The Council drew parallels between South Africa’s historical struggle against apartheid and its current stance against injustice globally.

They stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and emphasise the need for international recognition and urgent action to address the Israeli genocide.

“The South African Government’s bold stance is unique in the global arena and demonstrates unwavering support for the Palestinian cause and, by extension, oppressed people worldwide,” the Council said.

“This stance is deeply rooted in South Africa’s own history of overcoming colonial oppression, apartheid subjugation, and the violence that was perpetrated against the majority of its citizens,” it said.

“Just as apartheid fell in South Africa, so too do we believe that injustice anywhere in the world must be confronted and overcome. The South African experience serves as a moral beacon, reminding us that persistent injustice and oppression can and should be challenged through the channels of international law and human rights advocacy.”

The call for global recognition and action against the alleged Israeli genocide echoes through the Council’s statement, emphasising the collective responsibility to uphold human rights and work towards a world where individuals can live with dignity and without fear.

The South African Government’s position receives resolute backing, urging faith-based and civil society formations to support the morally justified stance.

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