Hague hearing: South Africa says Israel plans to destroy Gaza, flayed for backing Hamas

Israel will present their side of the story on Friday

Hague Genocide hearing Judges preside over the opening of the hearings at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands | AP

South Africa on Thursday told the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Israel plans to “destroy” Gaza. The allegations were made by South Africa while presenting the case of accusing Israel of committing genocide against Gazans.

The court was told to order immediate cease of military operations in Gaza.

However, after the hearing, Israel foreign ministry called it as "one of the greatest shows of hypocrisy in history". Israel also criticised South Africa for supporting Hamas. South Africa, which raised the issue in the ICJ, works as "the legal arm of the Hamas", said Israel.

“Today we were witness to one of the greatest shows of hypocrisy in history, compounded by a series of false and baseless claims," said the ministry's spokesperson, Lior Haiat.

“South Africa, which is functioning as the legal arm of the Hamas terrorist organization, utterly distorted the reality in Gaza following the 7 October massacre and completely ignored the fact that Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel, murdered, executed, massacred, raped and abducted Israeli citizens, simply because they were Israelis, in an attempt to carry out genocide,” he added.

Israel again stressed that Hamas uses the civilians in Gaza as human shields and operates from within hospitals, schools, refugee camps and churches.

Israel is set to offer their defence on Friday.

Israel's plan to "destroy" Gaza comes from "the highest level of state", the UN top court has heard.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, a lawyer for the High Court of South Africa, told the ICJ Israel's "genocidal intent" was evident "from the way in which this military attack is being conducted", reported BBC.

"The intent to destroy Gaza has been nurtured at the highest level of state," he said.

The evidence submitted before the hearing by South Africa reveals that Israel’s actions were “intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group".

Israel is signatory to the Genocide Convention of 1948, which defines genocide and commits states to prevent it.

Based in The Hague, Netherlands, ICJ is the UN's highest court.

The court had ordered Russia, in 2022, to "immediately suspend military operations" in Ukraine. Though the court can give out the verdict, it does not have much power in enforcing it.

Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has no intention of permantly displacing the people of Gaza, or occupying the territory.

While, Israeli President Isaac Herzog called the accusations "atrocious and preposterous".

Join our WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news, exclusives and videos on WhatsApp