ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

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Herzog says while Hamas enjoys broad support among Gazans, ‘aid must reach them’

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

President Isaac Herzog speaks at an event at the President’s Residence honoring IDF soldiers killed in the war against Hamas in Gaza, in Jerusalem, January 28, 2024. (Screenshot: YouTube; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
President Isaac Herzog speaks at an event at the President’s Residence honoring IDF soldiers killed in the war against Hamas in Gaza, in Jerusalem, January 28, 2024. (Screenshot: YouTube; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, President Isaac Herzog calls South Africa’s case in the International Court of Justice a “blood libel against the nation-state of the Jewish people—a shameful low for an international system that emerged from the ashes of the Holocaust.”

He says that the prosecution knowingly twisted his October 12 comment that there is “an entire nation out there that is responsible,” as evidence that Israeli leaders were condoning genocide of Palestinians.

“The fact is that many Palestinian civilians entered Israel on Oct. 7 on the heels of the Hamas terrorists and participated in murder, rape and looting, much of it documented on film,” Herzog writes. “Palestinians were filmed cheering the massacre and jeering and attacking the hostages as they were led into captivity. I also pointed out that Hamas operates from within the heart of its civilian population and enjoys broad support.”

At the same time, he stresses, he stated that there are many innocent Palestinians and that Israel does not target civilians.

“These words were purposely distorted when presented to the court,” he writes. “The claim that Israel is committing genocide can’t rest on accurate information, because it is a lie.”

Herzog rejects any calls to harm Palestinian civilians, and writes that “humanitarian aid must reach them” amid ongoing protests mostly by right-wing Israelis aimed at blocking assistance from reaching Gaza.

Herzog writes the op-ed ahead of his attendance at the Munich Security Conference over the weekend.

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