Israel calls on World Court to reject demands for end of Gaza offensive

International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice. File Photo: AFP

The Hague: Israel on Friday called on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to reject the demands of South Africa for an immediate end to its military campaign in the Gaza Strip.
"The application and request should be rejected for what they are - a libel," Israel's Foreign Ministry legal adviser, Tal Becker, told the ICJ on the second day of hearings on a case brought by South Africa accusing Israel of "genocidal acts" in its offensive against Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.

In hearings at the ICJ, South Africa demanded an emergency suspension of Israel's aerial and ground offensive in the Palestinian enclave, which it said was aimed at bringing about "the destruction of the population" of Gaza.

"Israel has a genocidal intent against the Palestinians in Gaza," Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, advocate of the High Court of South Africa, told the court. "That is evident from how this military attack is being conducted," he said, adding: "The intent to destroy Gaza has been nurtured at the highest level of state."

Meanwhile, the United Nations Human Rights Office said on Friday that Israel had repeatedly failed to uphold international humanitarian law since it launched its offensive in Gaza in response to a cross-border rampage by Hamas on October 7.

"We've repeatedly highlighted Israel's recurring failures to uphold the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law: distinction, proportionality and precautions in carrying out attacks," said Elizabeth Throssell, spokesperson for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The High Commissioner has stressed that breaches of these obligations risk exposure to liability for war crimes, and has also warned of the risks of other atrocity crimes.

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