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Israel accused of violating the Genocide Convention in Gaza | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Demonstrators waving the Palestinian flag march in front of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, where hearings to hear Pretoria's request begin on Thursday. South Africa accuses the Jewish state of violating the United Nations Convention on Genocide.

Agence France-Presse

L'Africa du South accused Israel of violating the UN Genocide Convention at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday, saying not even the October 7 Hamas attack could justify such alleged violations in Gaza. p>

Pretoria urgently seized the Court in The Hague to order Israel to immediately suspend its military operations in the Gaza Strip, a historic legal confrontation described as absurd and atrocious by Israel.

No armed attack on the territory of a State, however serious it may be […] can justify a violation of the Convention, affirmed the South African Minister of Justice, Ronald Lamola, before the Court, more Israel's response to the October 7 attack crossed this line and gave rise to violations of the Convention, he argued before the fifteen ICJ magistrates present at the hearing, broadcast publicly by video link.

The war between Israel and Hamas was triggered by an unprecedented attack on October 7 by the Palestinian Islamist movement on Israeli soil which left around 1,140 dead, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on the Israeli toll. .

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In retaliation, Israel vowed to annihilate Hamas in power in Gaza and launched an offensive in this Palestinian territory which left at least 23,357 dead, mostly women, adolescents and children, according to figures released on Wednesday. by the Hamas Ministry of Health.

According to Pretoria, Israel is breaking its commitments made under the United Nations Convention on Genocide, signed in 1948 following the Holocaust.

Israel's bombing campaign aims to destroy Palestinian lives and pushes Palestinians to the brink of famine, said Adila Hassim, lawyer for the x27;South Africa.

Genocides are never declared in advance, but this court has the benefit of the last 13 weeks of evidence that indisputably shows a pattern of behavior and intent that supports a plausible allegation of genocidal acts, she said.

As a co-signatory to the treaty, Pretoria can sue Israel before the International Court of Justice which rules on disputes between states .

The African National Congress (ANC), in power in South Africa, has long supported the Palestinian cause. Former South African president and hero of the anti-apartheid struggle Nelson Mandela said that South Africa's freedom would be incomplete without that of the Palestinians.

Pretoria also indicated that it was fully aware of the particular weight of responsibility represented by accusing Israel of violating the Genocide Convention and unequivocally condemned the Hamas attack of 7 October.

Israel will speak before the ICJ on Friday, but its president has already declared that there is nothing more atrocious and absurd than the Pretoria accusations.

We will be before the International Court of Justice and we will proudly present our case of self-defense […] .] under international humanitarian law, added Isaac Herzog.

According to him, the Israeli army is doing everything possible, in extremely complicated circumstances on the ground, to ensure that it does not #x27;There will be no unintended consequences or civilian casualties.

The United States supports Israel, its ally, and believes that the accusations made by Pretoria are baseless.

In fact, it is those who violently attack Israel who continue to openly call for the annihilation of Israel and the massacre of Jews, said State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

As this is an emergency procedure, the ICJ could rule in a few weeks. Its decisions are final and legally binding, but it has no power over their application.

In March 2022, the ICJ ordered for Russia to immediately suspend its invasion of Ukraine, an injunction completely ignored by Moscow.

A court ruling against Israel would, however, increase the political pressure on the country, and could serve as a pretext for sanctions. Full resolution of the case before the ICJ may take years.

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