New Delhi, Jan 12: The International Court of Justice (ICJ), a United Nations body, is set to deliberate on allegations raised by South Africa against Israel today.
The accusations, centred on claims of genocide in Gaza, will be evaluated by the court. South Africa's submission urges the ICJ to direct Israel to halt its military actions in the region.
Israel has strongly dismissed these allegations as unfounded.
South Africa's case argues that Israel's conduct is aimed at the systematic destruction of a significant segment of the Palestinian population, citing actions such as killings, infliction of physical and mental harm, and imposition of living conditions detrimental to their survival. The plea includes a request for immediate court-mandated measures, notably instructing Israel to cease its military operations in Gaza.
Isaac Herzog, the President of Israel, labelled these accusations as outrageous. He expressed confidence in Israel's defence at the ICJ, emphasizing their adherence to humanitarian law. Herzog highlighted the Israeli military's efforts to minimize civilian casualties and unintended consequences amid challenging conditions on the ground.
While the ICJ, located in The Hague, Netherlands, might swiftly decide on South Africa's demand for the suspension of Israeli military activities, a final judgment on the genocide claim could be prolonged. Although ICJ rulings are in principle binding for member states, including Israel and South Africa, they lack enforceability.
South Africa's criticism of Israeli actions in Gaza is underpinned by the ruling African National Congress's long-standing solidarity with Palestinians, drawing parallels to its historical fight against apartheid. This comparison relates to the systemic racial segregation and discrimination practised in South Africa until 1994.
In Gaza, the conflict has resulted in over 23,350 fatalities, as reported by the Gaza health ministry, following the escalation post-Hamas's attacks on southern Israel on October 7. These attacks led to approximately 1,300 deaths, predominantly civilians, and the capture of about 240 individuals.