Israel takes the stand on day 2 of UN court genocide hearings

A protestor in front of the Peace Palace in The Hague. Photo: Dutch News

Israel will take to the stand in the second day of public hearings in South Africa’s genocide case at the UN court in The Hague on Friday.

On Thursday, South Africa asked judges at the UN’s highest judicial body to issue an emergency court order to stop Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.

Supporters of both sides began gathering outside the Peace Palace on Friday before it was light. On Thursday, their chants could be heard all the way in court as South Africa argued that Israel’s actions in Gaza amount to genocide.

Lawyer Adila Hassim told judges that Israel has demonstrated a pattern of genocidal conduct that includes mass killings, inflicting serious bodily and mental harm and the destruction of Palestinian life via starvation and hunger, blocking humanitarian aid and the forced displacement and evacuation of Gaza’s Palestinians.

“That order alone was genocidal,” she said, referring to Israel’s first evacuation notice to Palestinians on October 13.

South Africa has accused Israel of breaching its obligations under the  1948 Genocide Convention—established after the Holocaust—making it a crime to intentionally destroy a people based on their ethnicity, nationality or race. South Africa argues that is exactly what Israel is doing—that by destroying Palestinians in Gaza, they are intentionally wiping out a part of the Palestinian community.

Israel calls the charges baseless and says South Africa is distorting reality.

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