South Africa wraps up ICJ argument against Israel, which will issue defense tomorrow

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

In South Africa’s final presentations at the ICJ, its representatives claim that Israel has genocidal intent against Palestinians and that the only way to prevent genocide is a court order instructing Israel to halt its entire military campaign in Gaza and not just Rafah as it had originally requested.

Attorney Tembeka Ngcukaitobi cites comments by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich who was quoted by Haaretz at the end of April as saying, “There are no half-measures. Rafah, Deir al-Balah, Nusseirat – total annihilation,” as evidence of Israeli genocidal intent and also plays a video of IDF soldiers before entering the southern Gazan city of Rafah praying and then singing, “We will dismantle Rafah.”

Attorney Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh urges the court to intervene due to “the severity of the situation involving horrific human suffering,” which she says “mandates that the court to now order Israel to cease military operations” and claiming that Israel has ignored previous ICJ orders.

“South Africa cannot but reiterate what is the power of this court to do, what the drafters of the Genocide Convention called on it to do, to listen to that desperate cry for help from Gaza and order Israel to cease fire,” she says.

Israel will respond to South Africa at tomorrow’s hearing.

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