Middle East

South Africa says Israel’s response to Hamas operation breached Genocide Convention

South Africa says Israel’s response to the offensive launched by the Palestinian Hamas resistance group on October 7 had breached the Genocide Convention, as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague holds a hearing against Israel for Gaza “genocide” case.

At the top UN court in The Hague on Thursday, South Africa said Israel had breached the UN Genocide Convention by imposing a brutal war on the densely-populated Gaza Strip for more than two months, stressing that the Hamas attack could not justify such military incursion on the besieged Palestinian enclave.

Late last month, Pretoria, in an 84-page suit filed against Israel at the ICJ, asked the top court to urgently declare that the Tel Aviv regime has breached its responsibilities under international law since it launched an ongoing war on the impoverished coastal sliver.

South Africa detailed evidence of brutality being perpetrated in Gaza, making the African nation the first to file a lawsuit against the occupying regime at the ICJ, appealing to the court to force the regime to “immediately suspend” its war on Gaza.

“No armed attack on a state territory no matter how serious… can provide justification for or defend breaches of the convention,” said Ronald Lamola, South Africa’s justice minister, during his opening statement in the case at the ICJ.

“Israel’s response to the October 7 attack has crossed this line and given rise to the breaches of the convention,” he stressed, setting out South Africa’s case at the top court.

“The Palestinians have experienced systematic oppression and violence for the last 76 years, on October 6, 2023, and every day since October 7, 2023. In the Gaza Strip, at least since 2004, Israel continues to exercise control over the airspace, territorial waters, land crossings, water, electricity, and civilian infrastructure, as well as key government functions,” Lamola added.

South Africa, when faced with such evidence of genocide in Gaza, firmly decided to initiate this case in an attempt to prevent such crimes in the Palestinian enclave as contained in Article 1 of the Convention, the South African justice minister further said at the court.

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