Israeli lawmaker signs petition supporting Hague genocide hearings on Gaza war

A lawmaker from the Arab-majority Hadas-Ta’al party, MK Ofer Cassif, expresses his support for the upcoming hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague this week to consider South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza.

“My constitutional duty is to Israeli society and all its residents, not to a government whose members and its coalition are calling for ethnic cleansing and even actual genocide. They are the ones who harm the country and the people, they are the ones who led to South Africa’s appeal to The Hague, not me and my friends,” he writes on X.

Cassif is one of some 200 Israelis who are signing onto a petition of support for South Africa’s case, Ynet reports. In the petition, they say they wish to “add our voice as citizens of Israel to the claims…that South Africa submitted to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, in the hope that our voice will help reach a decision that will bring an immediate end to the war.”

Israel declared war on Hamas after the terror group burst across its southern border from Gaza on October 7, slaughtering some 1,200 people — mostly civilians who were massacred amid horrific acts of brutality — and kidnapping more than 240 others.

It rejects any assertion that it is targeting civilians or engaged in anything other than a campaign for its security. Israel says it is making an effort to avoid harm to civilians while fighting a terror group embedded within the civilian population. It has also long accused Gaza-based terror groups of using Palestinians in the Strip as human shields, operating from sites, including schools and hospitals, which are supposed to be protected.

In his X post, Cassif wrote: “When the government acts against society, the state, and its citizens, especially when it sacrifices them and commits crimes in their name on the altar of maintaining its existence, it is my right and even my duty to warn about this and do everything I can within the law to stop it.”

“I will not give up the fight for our existence as a moral society. This is true patriotism…not unnecessary bloodshed, and not sacrificing kidnapped citizens and soldiers in senseless wars,” he goes on.

In its application filed last week, South Africa accused Israel of actions during its war against Hamas in Gaza that are “genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent… to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.”

Israel responded to the petition, accusing South Africa of a “blood libel,” while confirming that it will send a representative to defend the country against the charges. The US, too, denounced the motion as “meritless, counterproductive and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever.”

Earlier Sunday, Israel said retired Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, 87, will be Israel’s appointee to the 15-judge panel.

Beyond the permanent panel of the ICJ, both parties to a case may themselves nominate a judge to join the deliberations. Decisions are made by a simple majority of the presiding judges.

South Africa will present its case at The Hague on Thursday, followed by Israel on Friday.

Israel is reportedly seeking to screen before the court a compilation of harrowing scenes of murder, torture and decapitation from the October 7 onslaught, including raw videos from the terrorists’ bodycams that it has shown, among others, to journalists, international leaders and diplomats in the weeks since the Hamas invasion.

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