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Israel responds to South Africa's genocide accusations

Eylon Levy, Israeli government spokesman. 02/01/2024   -  
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Israel on Tuesday said it would defend itself against genocide accusations filed by South Africa last week.

South Africa launched the case at the International Court of Justice on Friday, accusing Israel of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza and asking the court to order Israel to halt its attacks.

Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy on Tuesday called the accusations "blood libel" and said that Israel would appear before the ICJ in the Hague to dispel the claims. 

Levy also said that the case lacked "both a factual and a legal basis".

South African support for Palestinians

South Africa has been a vociferous critic of Israel since the war began on October 7. 

Their filing at the ICJ is just the latest in a series of actions taken by the South African government against Israel's attacks in Gaza.

South Africa said Israel violates the UN’s Genocide Convention, and called for an expedited hearing.

According to Article 2 of the Genocide Convention, genocide involves acts committed with the “intent to destroy, either in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.”

Both South Africa and Israel, as UN member states, are bound by the ICJ's rulings. 

Ignoring ICJ rulings

Should the court issue an injunction ordering a halt to attacks on Gaza, Israel could be bound to respect the ruling.

While the ICJ is the United Nations' top court, not all rulings have been followed as it has no means of enforcing them. 

In March 2022, Russia ignored an order to halt its military campaign in Ukraine.

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