Israel’s Defense  at ICJ: Historical context of conflict with Hamas began 3,500 years ago

Israel’s Defense  at ICJ: Historical context of conflict with Hamas began 3,500 years ago

Israel began defending itself at the International Court of Justice in the Hague on Friday against charges brought by South Africa that its war in Gaza against Hamas constitutes genocide. If the court produces a ruling that Israel is guilty, it will call for an immediate ceasefire that leaves Hamas in power. 

Israel’s defense opened with Foreign Ministry legal adviser Tal Becker who emphasized that the act of genocide is deeply ingrained in the Jewish consciousness as we were the victims of the most intensive effort at extermination during the Holocaust. He then insisted that the case brought by South Africa was an attempt to delegitimize Israel’s existence. 

“And in its sweeping counterfactual description of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it seemed to erase both Jewish history and any Palestinian agency or responsibility. Indeed, the delegitimization of Israel since its very establishment in 1948 in the applicant’s submissions sounded barely distinguishable from Hamas’s own rejectionist rhetoric.”

“It is unsurprising, therefore, that in the applicant’s telling, both Hamas’s responsibility for the situation in Gaza and the very humanity of its Israeli victims are removed from view.”

Becker went on to accuse  Hamas of attempting genocide against the Jews.

“…if there have been acts that may be characterized as genocidal, then they have been perpetrated against Israel. If there is a concern about the obligations of states under the Genocide Convention, then it is in relation to their responsibilities to act against Hamas’s proudly declared agenda of annihilation, which is not a secret and is not in doubt.”

“The annihilationist language of Hamas’s charter is repeated regularly by its leaders, with the goal, in the words of one member of Hamas’s political bureau, of the cleansing of Palestine of the filth of the Jews.”

Becker emphasized the public statements made by Hamas leaders, threatening that attacks like the one on October 7 will continue until their stated objective is achieved. 

British barrister Malcolm Shaw came next. He began by dissecting the use of the term “context” in the South African charge against Israel as a justification for Hamas atrocities on October 7. In this manner of creating “context”, the murder of over 1,200 Israelis, the rape of countless women, and the taking of over 250 civilian hostages could be presented as a justified response to 75 years of “occupation”. 

“South Africa casts its net widely in its application,” Shaw said. “It uses the word context, many times. In particular, it declares that it is important to place the acts of genocide in the broader context of Israel’s conduct towards the Palestinians during its 75-year-long apartheid.”

“Leading aside the outrageous nature of that statement, why stop at 75 years? Why not refer to the 1922 and the approval by the Council of the League of Nations of the British Mandate, or in 1917 the proclamation of a Balfour declaration, or maybe also put through the entry into the land of Israel of the Israelite tribes, some 3500 years ago.”

“No. The immediate and proximate context for the specific allegations of genocide, claimed by South Africa lies in the events of the seventh of October, when Hamas militants and other armed groups of individuals stormed into the internationally recognized sovereign territory of Israel and committed acts of barely credible atrocity. It was these events that truly constitute the real context for South Africa’s allegations.”

Shaw went on to note that as proof of Israel’s genocidal intentions, the South African legal representatives brought “random” inflammatory comments made by Israeli politicians. Shaw argued that these comments did not represent Israel’s official position or intent. 

South Africa had proposed to the court that it place the current conflict in context, by going back to Israel’s founding in 1948. Why not go back to the start of the British Mandate in 1922, Shaw asked? How about the 1917 Balfour Declaration? How about 3500 years ago, when Israeli tribes first entered the Land of Israel?

Dr. Galit Raguan maintained that the casualties inflicted on Gaza’s civilians were a result of Hamas’s widespread use of civilians and civilian infrastructure for military purposes, and were not a result of genocidal acts carried out by the IDF.

“In every single hospital the IDF has searched in Gaza it has found evidence of Hamas using it,” said Raguan.

The defending attornies emphasized the steps Israel takes to warn civilians in advance of a military action as well as Israel’s efforts to evacuate Gazans. Israel has also provided life-sustaining humanitarian assistance to Gaza civilians.

The post Israel’s Defense  at ICJ: Historical context of conflict with Hamas began 3,500 years ago appeared first on Israel365 News.

Israel in the News