Hague hearing: Israel defends itself in ICJ, says genocide case ‘profoundly distorted’

Israel asked the Judges to drop the case as it lacked any merit

Hague hearing Israel genocide Legal adviser to Israel's Foreign Ministry Tal Becker and British jurist Malcolm Shaw sit inside the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as judges hear a request for emergency measures to order Israel to stop its military actions in Gaza, in The Hague, Netherlands | Reuters

Israel on Friday defended its actions in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) following the Hamas strike against the nation in October last year. South Africa has accused Israel of committing genocide against Gazans.

Tal Becker, the Israeli foreign ministry legal adviser said that South Africa's genocide case is "profoundly distorted".

Becker argued that his nation is fighting a war which it did not start and did not want. Israel blamed Hamas “guilty of genocide”.

"The civilian suffering in this war, like in all wars, is tragic. It is heartbreaking. The harsh realities of the current hostilities are made especially agonising for civilians given Hamas’ reprehensible strategy of seeking to maximise civilian harm to both Israelis and Palestinians, even as Israel seeks to minimise it," he said during the Hague hearing in Netherlands.

Israel also asked the judges to drop the genocide case as it lacked any merit.

“The genocide convention was not designed to address the brutal impact of intensive hostilities on the civilian population, even when the use of force raises, quote, very serious issues of international law and involves enormous suffering and continuing loss of life, end quote,” said Becker.

However, the convention was set apart to address a malevolent crime of the most exceptional severity.

“In an age of social media and identity politics, the temptation to reach for the most outrageous term to vilify and demonise, has become for many irrisistable,” he added.

South Africa on Thursday had asked the court to order to immediately halt Israeli military operations in Gaza. It also said that Israel plans to destroy Gaza.

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.”

Israel had accused South Africa for “functioning as the legal arm of the Hamas”.

According to the health ministry, over 23,000 people in Gaza have been killed during the Israel's military campaign.

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