Israel-Hamas War U.N.’s Top Court Opens Hearings in Genocide Case Against Israel
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Gaza City Jan. 11, 4:45 p.m.
South Africa on Thursday began making its case that Israel is acting with “genocidal intent” in Gaza, citing as evidence the words of Israeli officials including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who said Israel would impose a complete siege on the territory because it was fighting “human animals.”
On the first day of a two-day hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, South African representatives said the statements of Israeli officials like Mr. Gallant communicated the intent to commit genocide. Israel categorically denies the genocide accusation and will present its defense on Friday.
The case that South Africa has brought at the International Court of Justice at The Hague accuses Israel of actions in Gaza against Hamas that are “genocidal in character.” More than 23,000 people have died, according to the Gazan health ministry, since Israel launched airstrikes and a ground invasion in response to Hamas’s terrorist attacks on Oct. 7, which Israel says killed about 1,200 people.
Israel’s military insists that it is prosecuting the war against Hamas in Gaza in line with international law. The death toll in Gaza, Israeli officials say, is attributable in part to the use by Hamas of residential areas and civilian structures, including schools and hospitals, to launch attacks, store weapons and hide fighters.
Iran’s Navy said it had seized a vessel loaded with crude oil off the coast of Oman on Thursday after an armed group wearing military-style uniforms and black masks boarded the ship.
The vessel, previously named the Suez Rajan, was seized last year by the U.S. government over allegations that it was carrying Iranian oil in violation of American sanctions. The ship eventually unloaded the oil and continued to sail, but under a new name, St. Nikolas.
Antony J. Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, met on Thursday with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt in Cairo to discuss the dire situation of Palestinian civilians in the Israel-Hamas war and what will happen in Gaza when the conflict ends.
Mr. Blinken also planned to speak with Mr. el-Sisi about how to prevent the intensifying conflict in the region from escalating further, U.S. officials said. Militias supported by Iran have been attacking American and Israeli forces, and the most urgent challenge to the United States is posed by the Houthis of Yemen.
As part of the International Criminal Court’s investigation into allegations of crimes in the Gaza Strip, its chief prosecutor will review attacks that killed journalists in the Israel-Hamas war, his office said in a statement on Wednesday.
The court, which was formed by the Rome Statute two decades ago to investigate, prosecute and try people accused of war crimes, genocide and other atrocities, is more broadly looking into allegations of war crimes by Israel and by Palestinian militant groups in Gaza and the West Bank.
Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip “will not be returned alive” unless Israeli forces leave, a Hamas spokesman said on Wednesday, highlighting the predicament facing the Israeli government: It has vowed to free the hostages, and to pursue the war and defeat Hamas.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under significant pressure to do whatever is required to get the remaining hostages who are still alive — more than 100 of them, the government says — home safely. Yet public opinion surveys show that most Israelis also support his stated aim of eliminating Hamas, which led the deadly Oct. 7 assault on Israel, as a military force.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society said a missile from an Israeli drone destroyed one of its ambulances in central Gaza on Wednesday, killing four crew members as well as the two patients it was transporting.
The ambulance was struck at 3:35 p.m. local time as it was approaching Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the city of Deir al Balah, the Red Crescent said."