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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Brazil backs South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at UN Court

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 Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has thrown his support behind a case brought by South Africa to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last month which accuses Israel of committing genocide with its military operation in the Gaza Strip, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry said.

“In light of the flagrant violations of international humanitarian law, the president has expressed support for South Africa’s initiative to call on the International Court of Justice to obligate Israel to cease all actions and measures that may constitute genocide or related crimes in accordance with the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” the ministry said in a readout of Lula’s meeting with Palestinian Ambassador to Brazil Ibrahim Alzeben on Wednesday.

Lula also recalled Brazil’s “immediate condemnation” of Hamas’ attacks on October 7, 2023, while reiterating that they “do not justify the indiscriminate, recurring and disproportionate use of force by Israel against civilians,” the ministry added.

In December, South Africa brought the claim of Israel’s genocidal intent before The Hague court in response to a rising civilian death toll in the Palestinian enclave. It seeks to prove that Israel’s military strategy is genocidal in nature and targets Gazans as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnic group.

The ICJ will hold its first hearing in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel on Thursday. It is expected to ultimately issue provisional measures to protect Palestinians in Gaza and to ensure Israel’s compliance with the 1948 Genocide Convention. In response, Israel said that Pretoria’s claims had no factual basis and was an “exploitation” of the court, adding that the country was allegedly collaborating with “terrorists.”

South Africa’s case has support from several countries, including Turkey, Jordan, Bolivia, Venezuela, Malaysia, and the Organization of Islamic Countries.

Last October, Palestinian movement Hamas launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip while its fighters breached the border, opening fire on the military and civilians. As a result, over 1,200 people in Israel were killed and some 240 others abducted. Israel launched retaliatory strikes, ordered a complete blockade of Gaza and launched a ground incursion into the Palestinian enclave with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages. Over 23,000 people have been killed so far in Gaza.

On November 24, Qatar mediated a deal between Israel and Hamas on a temporary truce and the exchange of some of the prisoners and hostages, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. The ceasefire was extended several times and expired on December 1.

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