UN top court hears genocide allegation as Israel focuses fighting in central Gaza : The Tribune India

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UN top court hears genocide allegation as Israel focuses fighting in central Gaza

A lawyer representing South Africa's legal team has called the Gaza Strip 'a concentration camp where genocide is taking place'

UN top court hears genocide allegation as Israel focuses fighting in central Gaza

Ahmed El Fadly, Egyptian ambassador to South Africa, Kabalan Frangieh, Lebanon ambassador to South Africa, and others sit as Pro-Palestinian supporters gather to watch the South African Government’s genocide case at the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Reuters



AP

Jerusalem, January 11

The United Nations' top court began hearings Thursday for South Africa's allegation that Israel's war with Hamas amounts to genocide against Palestinians. Israel strongly denies the claim.

Although the case is likely to take years to resolve, South Africa is asking the International Court of Justice to order an immediate suspension of Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli military operations in Gaza have lately focused on the southern city of Khan Younis and urban refugee camps in the territory's centre.

Hundreds of people have been killed in recent days in strikes across the territory, including in areas of the far south where Israel told people to seek refuge.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been meeting with leaders across the Mideast, seeking to rally the region behind postwar plans for Gaza.

Blinken spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday about a reformed Palestinian Authority governing Gaza once the war is over. Blinken then flew to Manama, the capital of the tiny Gulf nation of Bahrain.

The October 7 Hamas attack from Gaza into southern Israel that triggered the war killed around 1,200 people and saw some 250 others taken hostage by militants.

Israel's air, ground and sea assault in Gaza has killed more than 23,000 people, two-thirds of them women and children, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-ruled territory. The count does not differentiate between civilians and combatants.

Currently:

— The UN's top court opens hearings on South Africa's allegation that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.

— Blinken seeks Palestinian governance reform for postwar Gaza.

— The Israeli military says it found traces of hostages in an underground tunnel in Gaza.

— Nelson Mandela's support for Palestinians endures with South Africa's genocide case against Israel.

Here's what's happening in the war:

South Africa likens Gaza Strip to concentration camp in its World Court case

A lawyer representing South Africa's legal team has called the Gaza Strip “a concentration camp where genocide is taking place.”

John Dugard made the remarks while he was laying out a case in front of the International Court of Justice Thursday that South Africa has jurisdiction to take Israel to court over the genocide charge. He was repeating remarks made in 2023 by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The genocide charge strikes at the heart of Israel's national identity and such comparisons of Israel's war in Gaza to Nazi concentration camps on a world stage are likely to stir emotions in Israel, which sees itself as a bulwark of security for Jews after 6 million were killed in the Holocaust. International support for Israel's creation in 1948 was deeply rooted in outrage over Nazi atrocities.

South Africa wants the court to rule that Israel is committing genocide in its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Israel denies the charges, saying it is fighting a war of self-defence following Hamas' deadly October 7 attack.

Indonesia supports South Africa in its World Court genocide case against Israel

Jakarta: Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi is scheduled to give an oral statement February 19 at the International Court of Justice, ministry spokesperson Lalu Muhammad Iqbal said Thursday.

She is expected to ask the court to issue an advisory opinion on questions from the United Nations General Assembly regarding the consequences and legal status of Israel's war in Gaza.

Legally, Indonesia cannot join in the lawsuit because it's not party to the Genocide Convention, which is the basis of the lawsuit, Iqbal said.

However, “morally and politically, Indonesia fully supports South Africa's legal efforts at the International Court of Justice over Israel's alleged genocide in Gaza,” he said.

10 companies in Netherlands refuse to publish billboards showing hostages, Israel says

Tel Aviv: Israel says 10 companies in the Netherlands refused to publish billboards showing hostages held in Gaza that were meant to go up ahead of the genocide case against Israel.

The billboards were set to show posters of people still held by militants with their names, a picture and a line reading: “He can't testify today.”

Israeli government official Moshik Aviv said the companies' decision to pull the billboards, which were part of a paid campaign in several areas of the Netherlands, was an attempt to silence the voices of hostages held in the Gaza Strip.

Similar posters hung by activists wanting to raise awareness have become flashpoints in cities around the world, with opponents seeing them as Israeli propaganda.

Israel stepped up its messaging ahead of the court hearing at The Hague. It launched a website showing grisly images from Hamas' October 7 attack against southern Israel, when roughly 1,200 people were killed and some 250 were taken hostage.

Lawyer for South Africa tells World Court that Palestinians have nowhere safe to go

The Hague: A lawyer representing South Africa's legal team says Palestinians under Israeli bombardment have nowhere safe to go.

In her address Thursday to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Adila Hassim said Palestinians in Gaza “are killed in their homes in places where they seek shelter, in hospitals, in schools or in mosques, in churches.”

She said Palestinians have been killed if they did not follow Israeli orders to evacuate, but also if they evacuated to Israeli-designated safe corridors.

“The level of killing is so extensive that those whose bodies are found buried in mass graves often unidentified,” Hassim said.

South Africa is trying to prove to the court that Israel is committing genocide in its war against Hamas in Gaza.

Israel vehemently denies the allegation, saying it is battling militants in a war of self-defence after Hamas' deadly October 7 attack.

Top UN court opens hearings on South Africa accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza

The Hague: Judges filed solemnly into the International Court of Justice on Thursday to hear two days of legal arguments in a case filed by South Africa accusing Israel of genocide in its Gaza war. Israel rejects the allegation.

Lawyers for South Africa will ask judges at Thursday's hearings to impose binding preliminary orders on Israel, including an immediate halt to Israel's military campaign in Gaza.

Ahead of the proceedings, hundreds of pro-Israeli protesters marched close to the courthouse with banners saying “Bring them home,” referring to the hostages still held by Hamas. Among the crowds, people were holding Israeli and Dutch flags.

Outside the court, others were protesting and waving the Palestinian flag in support of South Africa's move.

Genocide accusations against Israel unfounded, says US State Department spokesperson

Tel Aviv: State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller says accusations that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are unfounded, hours before the International Court of Justice in The Hague begins to hear South Africa's case against Israel.

Miller said late Wednesday that the court “plays a vital role in the peaceful settlement of disputes,” but he said Israel had the right to defend itself and said it was Israel's enemies who were calling for the “mass murder of Jews.”

Miller reiterated the United States' support for Israel in its war while calling for more ways to protect civilians, and for Israel to abide by international humanitarian law. He also condemned inflammatory rhetoric on all sides.

In its court filing, South Africa cited incendiary remarks from Israeli leaders and military officials as an indication of intent to commit genocide.

Palestinian journalist describes being detained by Israeli military as ‘worst 33 days of my life’

Beirut: A Palestinian journalist who was detained by the Israeli military in Gaza in December described the experience as the “worst 33 days of my life.”

Diaa al-Kahlout, a reporter for the Arabic-language Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, said in an interview Thursday with his network that he was detained with around 100 men, including several relatives, who were sheltering in the northern town of Beit Lahiya.

He said the soldiers accused them of being members of Hamas and forced them to strip to their underwear. He said he was questioned about an article he wrote in 2018 about a botched Israeli military operation in Gaza, calling it a “distressing experience.”

Those detained included boys as young as 16 and a 77-year-old man apparently suffering from dementia, according to al-Kahlout.

He said they were held at the Zikim military base north of Gaza and were forced to sit “on their knees” for the first 25 days.

The Israeli military was looking into the allegation and had no immediate comment.

The Israeli military says it has detained and interrogated hundreds of people it suspects of links to Hamas, which triggered the war in Gaza with its October 7 rampage into Israel.

Several detainees have said after their release that they were denied food and water and subjected to beatings and other abuse. The military has denied allegations of mistreatment.

#Gaza #Gaza strip #Hamas #Israel #Palestine


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