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After South African petition, Israel on high alert with growing pressure to file genocide charges

January 1, 2024 at 4:34 pm

Judges take their seats at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on June 03, 2019 in The Hague, the Netherlands [Nacho Colonge/Getty Images]

Israeli officials are on edge as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) faces mounting pressure to charge Israel with genocide in the Gaza Strip, following a petition by South Africa, reported Israeli media, reports Anadolu Agency.

“A senior legal expert has warned IDF (Israeli army) brass, including Chief of Staff Herzl Halevi, that there is a real danger that the court will issue an injunction calling on Israel to halt its fire, noting that Israel is bound by the court’s rulings,” Israeli daily Haaretz wrote on Monday.

Lawyers have already begun preparing to deal with the complaint, and a hearing on the matter will be held at the Foreign Ministry on Monday, it added.

The newspaper said that according to international legal experts, “the proceeding may cement claims of genocide against Israel, and thus lead to its diplomatic isolation and to boycott or sanctions against it or against Israeli businesses.”

South Africa’s petition alleges Israel’s “indiscriminate use of force” and accuses it of crimes against humanity, the newspaper said.

According to the petition, this step is necessary to protect the Palestinians from “further irreparable damage.”

“South Africa further requested that the court order Israel to allow Palestinians removed from their homes in the Gaza Strip to return to them; to stop depriving them of food, water and humanitarian aid; to ensure that Israelis are not inciting to genocide and punish those who do; and to allow an independent investigation of its actions,” according to Haaretz.

Israel, denying the claims despite its months of attacks taking nearly 22,000 lives and its harsh blockade on the Gaza Strip, accuses South Africa of a “blood libel” and asserts cooperation with a group calling for its destruction.

READ: Israel blasts South Africa for launching case at top UN court over accusation of genocide in Gaza