South Africa submitted a formal accusation of genocide against Israel at the International Court of Justice, urging the U.N. court to intervene in the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip. South Africa asserted that Israel is seeking to “destroy Palestinians in Gaza.” In response, Israel’s Foreign Ministry rejected the claim, labeling it as lacking both factual and legal grounds and describing the move as a “despicable and contemptuous exploitation of the Court.”
South Africa, known for its vocal opposition to Israel’s actions in Gaza, had previously recalled all its diplomats from Israel in November due to concerns about the treatment of Palestinian civilians. While allegations of war crimes by both Israel and Palestinian groups are already being investigated by the International Criminal Court, Israel, not recognising the ICC’s jurisdiction, remains uncertain about the investigation’s impact. Nevertheless, the Genocide Convention, to which both South Africa and Israel are signatories, paved the way for South Africa to present its case at the International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court.
South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to apartheid and condemned the destruction caused in Gaza and the West Bank. Israel accused South Africa of collaborating with Hamas, which it labeled a “terrorist organisation” seeking the destruction of Israel. The International Court of Justice, based in The Hague, is responsible for adjudicating legal disputes among member nations.