Israel-Hamas war: Israel rejects 'distorted' genocide claim at ICJ


Friday, 12 January 2024 (16:21 IST)
Israel has opened its defense in the genocide case against it at the UN's top court, saying the allegations did not reflect the realities of the war in Gaza.
South Africa launched the emergency case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), claiming Israel has breached the UN Genocide Convention. It presented its evidence to the court on Thursday.
However, Tal Becker, a legal adviser for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said South Africa had "regrettably put before the court a profoundly distorted factual and legal picture."
"The entirety of its case hinges on a deliberately curated, contextualized and manipulative description of the reality of current hostilities," he added.
Becker said Israel's actions in Gaza were acts of self-defense against Hamas and "other terrorist organizations."
"If there were acts of genocide, they have been perpetrated against Israel," Becker told the court based in The Hague.
South Africa has said it wants the ICJ judges to press Israel to "immediately" stop the Gaza campaign launched after the October 7 Hamas terror attacks.
In doing so, said Becker, "the applicant seeks to thwart Israel's inherent right to defend itself... and render Israel defenseless."
"Israel is in a war of defense against Hamas, not against the Palestinian people, to ensure that they do not succeed," Becker said.
"The key component of genocide, the intent to destroy a people in whole or in part, is totally lacking," he added.
The court is expected to rule on the emergency measures later this month.


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