Wrapping up defense, Israel lays out details of its efforts to provide aid to Gaza

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

Israeli attorneys Gilad Noam, left, Tamar Kaplan Tourgeman, center, and Avigail Frisch Ben Avraham, right, wait for the start of hearings at the International Court of Justice, in The Hague, Netherlands, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Israeli attorneys Gilad Noam, left, Tamar Kaplan Tourgeman, center, and Avigail Frisch Ben Avraham, right, wait for the start of hearings at the International Court of Justice, in The Hague, Netherlands, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Wrapping up its defense at the International Court of Justice, Israel’s legal team provides a detailed account of the country’s efforts to provide Palestinian civilians in Gaza with humanitarian aid.

Foreign Ministry legal adviser Tamar Kaplan Tourgeman points out that South Africa falsely accused Israel of cutting off Gaza from the outside world and humanitarian aid in recent days, and in particular with closing the Kerem Shalom crossing in its application to the court and its oral arguments yesterday.

In contradiction to Pretoria’s claims, she notes that humanitarian aid and fuel continue to enter Gaza through Israel, including 365 trucks of aid which entered yesterday, 330 of which went through Kerem Shalom itself.

She also notes that Israel has opened three new land crossings into Gaza from Israeli territory, expanded capacity of the existing crossings, and spent $52 million on expanding infrastructure and road capacity to all crossings.

“Is this what a hermetic closure looks like?” she demands, while glaring at the South African legal team.

“It is not difficult to see that Israel has been making additional efforts to increase the provision of humanitarian aid throughout Gaza. South Africa’s complete disregard of this reality and truth is as telling as it is alarming,” says Kaplan Tourgeman.

“A state intent on committing genocide would not make the humanitarian efforts Israel is doing to mitigate harm to civilians,” Israeli attorney Gilad Noam says when addressing the same issues.

“It would not delay a military operation for weeks and sacrifice operational advantage by urging civilians to evacuate,” he adds, in reference to the lengthy delay in the IDF’s ground invasion of Gaza at the beginning of the war.

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