South Africa accuses Israel of ‘choking off’ Gaza by closing crossings

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

South Africa’s legal representatives to the International Court of Justice say that Israel has “choked off” the Rafah and Kerem Shalom goods crossings into Gaza, which they say “have plunged Gaza into unprecedented levels of humanitarian need.

“Closure of crossings means that starving Palestinians are now further deprived of food,” says Prof. Max du Plessis.

The Defense Ministry’s Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) says, however, that Kerem Shalom has reopened since being shut down on May 5 after a nearby attack by Hamas, and states that 248 trucks of humanitarian aid were inspected and transferred to the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, along with two fuel tankers.

“Israel has the power to determine whether every Palestinian in Gaza lives or dies. History warns us what happens next. We cannot stand by and wait for it to happen again,” says South African attorney Dr. Adila Hassim.

In describing what she alleges are Israel’s genocidal actions, Hassim asserts that Israel has killed 14,000 Palestinian children in Gaza, although the UN on May 8 revised that figure downwards 7,797.

Hassim also cites claims that mass graves have been discovered at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis where she alleges Israel executed Palestinian men, women and children. Open source information has indicated that these graves were dug and filled by Palestinians before Israeli forces entered the hospital.

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