China, on Wednesday, urged an end to “collective punishment” of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip without directly commenting on proceedings against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) brought by South Africa, Anadolu Agency reports.
China has “noted the case”, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Mao Ning, told Antara News in response to a question about whether Beijing would support South Africa’s case.
We oppose any action that violates international law and urge parties to the conflict to earnestly implement relevant resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council and General Assembly, reach an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire and stop the collective punishment against the people of Gaza
said Mao, according to a transcript of her news conference in Beijing.
She said, China, one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, is “saddened by the heavy civilian casualties caused by the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict”.
South Africa filed the lawsuit on 29 December, claiming that Israel violated the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide with its actions in Gaza since 7 October, requesting an injunction.
Hearings in the case are set at The Hague, beginning Thursday.
Turkiye, Bolivia, Malaysia and Indonesia have already signalled support for the case.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the world’s second-largest multi-national bloc, welcomed the suit filed by South Africa against Israel.
It urged the ICJ “to respond expeditiously and take urgent measures to stop this mass genocide being perpetrated by the Israeli defence forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
The Maldives, Namibia and Pakistan expressed support to South Africa during a UN General Assembly session Tuesday.
The Palestinian death toll from the deadly Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip has surged to 23,357 since 7 October, the Health Ministry in the enclave said Wednesday.
A statement said that 59,410 others have been injured in the onslaught.
Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by Palestinian group, Hamas, in October, in which nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed.
About 85 per cent of Gazans have been displaced by the onslaught, while all of the population in Gaza is food insecure, according to the UN.
Hundreds of thousands of residents are living without shelter and less than half of aid trucks are entering the Territory than before the start of the conflict.