S.Africans rally in support of ‘genocide’ case against IsraelThu, 11 Jan 2024 11:20:30 GMT

Dozens of people took to the streets in Cape Town on Thursday in one of several demonstrations planned across South Africa in support of the government’s “genocide” case against Israel.Lawyers for Pretoria are presenting their case at the UN’s top court in The Hague, where South Africa lodged an urgent appeal to force Israel to “immediately suspend” its military operations in Gaza.Standing on the steps of the High Court in the southwestern port city of Cape Town, pro-Palestinian demonstrators held signs reading “Stop the genocide” and “Boycott apartheid Israel”.”Free Palestine,” some chanted. “The important issue for us is that there is a ceasefire, that military actions are stopped in Gaza,” said Seehaam Samaai, a lawyer in attendance. Further rallies are planned in Cape Town and other cities. Robed officials from South Africa and Israel are going head-to-head before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Netherlands.South Africa argues that Israel is breaking its commitments under the UN Genocide Convention, alleging the bombing and invasion of Gaza is “intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group”.”No armed attack on a state territory no matter how serious… can provide justification for or defend breaches of the convention,” Justice Minister Ronald Lamola told the court.Israeli President Isaac Herzog has dismissed the accusations as “atrocious” and “preposterous”.South Africa’s Jewish Board of Deputies has also condemned the legal action, accusing the government of anti-Semitism and of “inverting reality”.”These charges have at their root an anti-Semitic worldview, which denies Jews their rights to defend themselves,” the body’s chair Karen Milner said on Thursday. South Africa has long been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party often linking it to its own struggle against apartheid.It has cut off diplomatic ties with Israel over its response to the October 7 Hamas attacks.The attack resulted in about 1,140 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.Israel has since bombarded Gaza by land, sea and air, killing more than 23,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.