Israel: War is against Hamas, not Palestinians


Israel argued in The Hague on Friday that this country is the real victim of genocide – not the people of Gaza. The country also maintains that it is not trying to destroy the Palestinian people whatsoever.

“What Israel wants is not to destroy a nation, but to protect a nation and its people, who are being attacked on several fronts,” said the lawyer Tal Becker, on behalf of Israel, in the International Court of Justice.

Today Israel was given the opportunity to present its case in the Court of Justice where South Africa accuses it of violating the UN Genocide Convention.

Israel believes that this complaint is “thoroughly distorted” and does not reflect the realities of the Gaza war.

“The entirety of South Africa’s case rests on a deliberately constructed, decontextualized and manipulative description of the reality of current hostilities,” argued Becker.

According to him, South Africa “unfortunately presented a deeply distorted factual and legal picture” to the court. To substantiate his argument, Becker created a graphic image of the horrors of the 7 October attacks with the help of videos and pictures.

Hamas militants “tortured children in front of parents, parents in front of children, burned people … systematically raped and mutilated,” Becker argued.

He emphasized that Israel acted in self-defense and that the response was not aimed at the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip.

“Israel is in a defensive war against Hamas, not against the Palestinian people… Under these circumstances, there can hardly be a falser and more malicious charge than the allegation of genocide against Israel.”

Prof. Malcolm Shaw, an international legal expert, emphasized this point on behalf of Israel. “South Africa only tells half the story,” he argued.

Shaw argued that Israel does not have the right to commit genocide, but it does have the right to defend itself. He also pointed out that genocide cannot legally be committed without intent.

“The truth is that if there was any incident of genocide in this situation, it is the events of 7 October.

“There is no genocidal intent here; there is no genocide.”

SA’s approach hacked

Becker pointed out in his argument this morning that by now it is common knowledge that South Africa enjoys close relations with Hamas. South Africa “unfortunately presented a deeply distorted factual and legal picture to the court,” argued Becker.

Shaw says that South Africa also did not offer Israel a reasonable opportunity to deal with the accusations against him. According to Shaw, the issue could be handled bilaterally between the two countries.

He explained that South Africa lodged its complaint against Israel on 29 December – over the festive period – after he had sent a note verbale (a diplomatic notice) to Israel on 21 December.

Shaw denies that Israel ever responded to the notice.

According to him, Israel signaled to South Africa that it would respond to the notice on the same day and repeatedly tried to convene a meeting with the South Africans.

As for the complaint, the court will not rule on the fundamentals of the case – whether Israel is guilty of genocide – but on the issue of whether the right to exist of Palestinians is in danger.

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