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Friday, May 24, 2024

Genocide lawsuit against Israel ‘preposterous’ – president

Isaac Herzog has rebuffed the case launched in the Hague by South Africa

Israeli President Isaac Herzog has dismissed the genocide lawsuit brought against his country over the staggering civilian deaths in Gaza. He made his comment when meeting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday.

“There is nothing more atrocious and preposterous” than a case filed in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by South Africa against the State of Israel, Herzog said.

Read more: Israel seeking ‘fundamental change’ to Lebanon border – Netanyahu

South Africa brought the case before the UN court on December 29, with the hearings set to begin on Thursday. Israel has been accused of violating international humanitarian law by “engaging in genocidal acts” against the Palestinians. More than 22,000 people were killed in Gaza during Israel’s airstrikes and ground invasion, according to local Hamas-run authorities.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israeli government says that Hamas should be ultimately blamed for civilian deaths in Gaza, accusing the militants of using local population as human shields. The IDF also said that it was working to minimize civilian casualties.

“Actually our enemies, Hamas, in their charter, call for the destruction of our nation, the State of Israel – the only nation-state of the Jewish people,” Herzog stressed. He added that Israel would present its “case of using self-defense under [their] most inherent right under international humanitarian law.”

Read more: Israel & Hezbollah exchange fire across Lebanon border

The latest round of violence between Israel and Hamas erupted on October 7, when the Palestinian militants carried out a surprise attack on Israeli soil, killing around 1,200 people and taking more than 200 hostages. Israel responded by declaring war on Hamas with the goal of “eradicating” the group.

The UN has been warning that the ongoing siege of the densely populated enclave has led to a humanitarian “catastrophe,” with locals lacking food and basic supplies.