South Africa Tells UN Top Court Israel ‘Genocide’ in Gaza Hit Horrific Stage

Thu May 16 2024
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THE HAGUE: At the United Nations top court, South Africa on Thursday accused Israel of stepping up a “genocide” campaign in Gaza against Palestinians and urged the court to order an immediate halt to Israel’s assault on Rafah. “South Africa had hoped, when we last appeared before this court, to halt this genocidal process to preserve Palestine and its people,” Vusimuzi Madonsela told the International Court of Justice (ICJ), AFP reported.
At the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, South African representative Vusimuzi Madonsela asserted that Israel’s actions in Gaza had reached a “new and horrific stage” of genocide, calling for urgent measures to preserve Palestinian lives. “Instead, Israel’s genocide has continued apace and has just reached a new and horrific stage,” he added.
South Africa was kicking off two days of hearings at the Peace Palace in The Hague, home of the ICJ, imploring judges to order a ceasefire throughout Gaza.
The hearings, which commenced on Thursday at the Peace Palace, saw South Africa pressing for a ceasefire throughout Gaza. South Africa emphasized the dire situation in Rafah. Israel is expected to respond to the accusations on Friday, having previously dismissed South Africa’s case as “wholly unfounded” and “morally repugnant.”
South Africa’s argument focuses on the need for fresh ICJ action in response to the ongoing Israeli military genocidal operations in Rafah. The country is urging the court to issue three emergency orders, including an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from Rafah, unimpeded access for humanitarian aid workers, journalists, and investigators to Gaza, and a reporting mechanism to monitor Israel’s compliance with the court’s orders.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended Israel’s offensive in Rafah, despite warnings of the humanitarian consequences. Defence Minister Yoav Gallant affirmed the continuation of the operation with additional forces entering the area.
In a ruling that made headlines around the world, the ICJ in January ordered Israel to do everything in its power to prevent genocidal acts and enable humanitarian aid to Gaza. “As the overwhelming evidence demonstrates, the very manner in which Israel is pursuing its military operations in Rafah, and elsewhere in Gaza, is itself genocidal,” South Africa said in its submission.
But the court stopped short of ordering a ceasefire and South Africa’s argument is that the situation on the ground — notably the operation in the crowded city of Rafah — requires fresh ICJ action.
The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, reported mass displacement in Rafah, with 600,000 people fleeing intensified military operations. South Africa underscored the significance of Rafah as a humanitarian hub and emphasized that a ceasefire in Gaza was essential for implementing existing court orders.
Since October 7 last year, Israel has launched a relentless bombardment campaign across the Gaza Strip killing at least 35,233 Palestinians, mostly women and children.

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