Israel accuses South Africa of false claims at ICJ

Conflicts 15:50 19.05.2024

Israel has accused South Africa of distorting reality in its attempt to get the UN's top court to force it to stop its military campaign in the town of Rafah in southern Gaza, Ednews reports via BBC.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) began two days of hearings on Thursday, when South Africa told the court that Israel intended to "wipe [the Palestinians] off the face of the Earth", calling Rafah "the final stand".

Lawyers for Israel presented their response to the court on Friday.

The court is already considering a case brought by South Africa in January accusing Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza. Israel has rejected the claim as false and "grossly distorted".

In its latest application, South Africa is also seeking to force Israel to allow "unimpeded access" to Gaza for aid workers, journalists and investigators.

South Africa laid out its case to the court at The Hague, accusing Israel of escalating what is says is a genocidal campaign against the Palestinians.

The Rafah campaign was "the last step in the destruction of Gaza and its Palestinian people", South African barrister Vaughan Lowe KC told the court.

"It was Rafah that brought South Africa to the court. But it is all Palestinians as a national, ethnical and racial group who need the protection from genocide that the court can order," he said.

But, delivering Israel's response, its Deputy Attorney General, Gilad Noam, said that was an inversion of reality.

"South Africa warns this court that, I quote, 'if Rafah falls, so too does Gaza'. Once again however, the reality is exactly the opposite," he said.

"Only by bringing down Hamas's military stronghold in Rafah will Palestinians be liberated from the clenched grip of the murderous terrorist regime and the road to peace and prosperity may finally be paved."

The hearing was briefly interrupted when a woman shouted "liars" during the Israeli submission before being removed by security guards.

Meanwhile, in a post on X, Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Oren Marmorstein called on the ICJ "to reject South Africa's appeal and to bring the abuse of the Court to an end".

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