Israel rejects genocide accusations in heated ICJ hearing

Israel rejects genocide accusations: Representing Israel, Tal Becker addressed the court, presenting multimedia, oral, and written evidence of alleged atrocities committed by Hamas militants on October 7.

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Prateek Gautam
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Courtesy: Picryl

Israel rejects genocide accusations: Israel staunchly rebuffed allegations of genocide brought by South Africa during a two-day hearing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday. The accusations were linked to the ongoing conflict in Gaza. In the impassioned presentation, Israel argued that if any genocidal acts occurred, they were committed against Israel.

Israel Presents Evidence of Atrocities by Hamas

Representing Israel, Tal Becker addressed the court, presenting multimedia, oral, and written evidence of alleged atrocities committed by Hamas militants on October 7. While acknowledging the horror, Becker emphasized that Israel's actions aimed to defend its citizens and territory, remaining within legal boundaries.

Becker argued that Hamas' actions on October 7 were genocidal, citing evidence of the group's leaders expressing an "agenda of annihilation." He highlighted the repeated use of "annihilationist language" in Hamas' charter and statements by its leaders.

Accusations of Distorted Presentation by South Africa

Israel accused South Africa of presenting a "profoundly distorted factual and legal picture," claiming the entire case relied on a "deliberately curated, decontextualized, and manipulative description of the reality of current hostilities." Israel emphasized its awareness of the historical context of the genocide convention, arguing against its invocation in this case.

Call to Dismiss Genocide Accusation as "Libel"

Becker concluded by describing the genocide accusation as "libel" and urged the court to dismiss it. Israel criticized South Africa for "weaponizing" the term genocide and accused it of attempting to deny Israel the right to defend itself.

Awaiting ICJ Decision on Emergency Measures

The ICJ's panel of judges will now decide whether to grant South Africa's request for "emergency measures," potentially leading to an order for Israel to halt its military operations in Gaza. A final ruling on whether Israel has committed genocide could take years. The international community awaits the court's decision on the emergency measures.