South Africa files application at ICJ charging Israel with genocidal acts against Palestinians in Gaza - as it happened

Ahram Online , Friday 29 Dec 2023

Egypt says the proposal for forming a Palestinian government in Gaza and the West Bank, as outlined in the Egyptian three-phase ceasefire initiative, is exclusively a Palestinian matter.

People participate in a silent march and protest in midtown Manhattan against the deaths of Palestinians in Gaza on December 28, 2023 in New York City. AFP


20:00 South Africa today filed an application instituting proceedings against Israel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, concerning alleged violations by Israel of its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the "Genocide Convention") in relation to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

According to the Application: "Acts and omissions by Israel... are genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent... to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group" and that "the conduct of Israel - through its State organs, State agents, and other persons and entities acting on its instructions or under its direction, control or influence- in relation to Palestinians in Gaza - is in violation of its obligations under the Genocide Convention.

South Africa, which ended a brutal apartheid system in 1992, has been at the forefront of opposing the Israeli war on Gaza.

In late November, South African lawmakers voted in favour of closing Israel’s embassy and cutting diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa accused Israel of war crimes and "genocide" in Gaza

Earlier in November, the South African government recalled all its diplomats from Israel to "signal its concern" over the situation in Gaza

19:00 Al-Azhar announced on Friday that the fourth aid convoy organized by its Zakat and Charity House set off to the Rafah border crossing to deliver much-needed relief to Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The convoy consists of 50 giant trucks carrying approximately 1,000 tons of medical supplies, food, clean water, living necessities, and large quantities of blankets, quilts, and mattresses.

This brings the total number of trucks launched by Al-Azhar that have entered the Gaza Strip to 125, carrying nearly 2,000 tons of relief aid.

People from 70 countries donated to the campaign, including Germany, the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, Australia, Italy, Spain, Britain, India, Iraq, Morocco, Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Pakistan, Qatar, France, Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Malaysia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Argentina, and Tunisia.

"This is needed due to the continued suffering of the Palestinian people and the worsening conditions, with the continuation of the Israeli aggression and the bombing of every place in Gaza for more than 80 days amid a humanitarian and health disaster that is increasing day by day.

To donate: visit

18:00 Francesca Albanese, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), described Israel's actions against Palestinians in Gaza as "the monstrosity of our century," in a post on her official X (formerly Twitter) account on Friday.

"Israel is bombing areas of Gaza it had designated as "safe". It is wiping out entire families, making countless children orphans & forcing countless men & women to survive their offspring.  Each story is excruciating," Albanese said.

Albanese was commenting on a post by another X user which carried a video depicting a Palestinian father placing a pack of biscuits into the hands of his dead son.

“I went to get you these biscuits, son. Keep them! Take them with you!” the grief-stricken father tells his dead boy in the video.

The initial post explained: "His little son asked him for something sweet. He risked the dangers, leaving his home to cross Gaza to find something sweet for his little boy. He came home to find an Israeli missile had taken his son and wife."

The family had sought refuge in Khan Younis in southern Gaza after the Israeli army told people to evacuate for "their safety.

"Yes: what Israel is doing to the Palestinians, especially in Gaza, is "the monstrosity of our century," she added in another post on Friday.

"Western complacency is turning into complicity."

17:30 A displaced Palestinian child insists on putting his cat first despite the scarcity of food in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The boy ran from Israeli attacks in Beni Sahila near Khan Younis in southern Gaza and brought his cat with him to a refugee camp.

He insists on finding food for his cat before finding something to feed himself :)

17:00 The Israeli army has added a seventh brigade to its military campaign in Khan Younis in southern Gaza amid fierce Palestinian resistance and rising casualties among its soldiers in recent days.

Last week, Israel pulled Battalion 13 in its Golani Brigade, an Israeli elite infantry from combat in northern Gaza after the elite infantry brigade, took 40 percent casualties in personnel and gear according to reports.

Also on Friday, the Israeli army confirmed on Friday that Israeli soldiers killed three of their comrades who raised white flags after escaping captivity in Gaza on the 15th of December.

"The soldiers carried out the correct measure based on their judgement because they believed that these men were Hamas fighters who wanted to ambush them," said the Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi.

The army said 21 of its soldiers were injured in battles in the last 24 hours.

Israeli soldiers carry the flag-draped casket of Staff Sgt. Birhanu Kassie during his funeral at Mt. Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023. AP

16:00 The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza said at least 21,507 people were killed and 55,915 people injured since the start of Israel's war on the Gaza Strip nearly 12 weeks ago.

The figure includes 187 fatalities over the past 24 hours, added the ministry in a statement.

Israeli airstrikes on residential buildings and homes have displaced more than 80 percent of Gaza's 2.4 million people.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees said that 308 people were killed and 1,095 others injured while seeking shelter at UN sites during the war, UNRWA said on social media platform X.

15:00 The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said Friday that an aid convoy came under fire by the Israeli military without causing any casualties.

"Israeli soldiers fired at an aid convoy as it returned from northern Gaza along a route designated by the Israeli army," UNRWA's director in Gaza, Tom White, wrote on social media platform X.

"Our international convoy leader and his team were not injured but one vehicle sustained damage," he said.

The Israeli military said it was looking into the incident.

14:00 Israeli security forces have prevented Palestinians in the West Bank and east Jerusalem from performing the Friday Prayers at Al Aqsa Mosque for the 11th straight week.

However, in defiance, hundreds of Palestinians performed the prayer on the pavements of streets in the vicinity of the third holiest site in Islam.

Palestinians perform the Friday Prayer as close as possible to Aqsa on 29 December 2023. Photo: AF

Israeli forces prevented many journalists from reaching the Al-Aqsa Mosque by sieging the Wadi Al-Jouz neighbourhood in east Jerusalem

Since the start of its war on Gaza on 7 October, Israel has carried out a deadly campaign of repression on Palestinians in the occupied territories, killing nearly 300 Palestinians in raids on various towns in the West Bank and arresting more than 4,000.

Since the start of the year, before the start of the war in Gaza, Israel has carried deadly attacks on Palestinians in the occupied territories, killing more than 250, and intensified its efforts to Judaize east Jerusalem.

13:00 Head of Egypt's State Information Service (SIS) Diaa Rashwan said Thursday the proposal for forming a Palestinian government in Gaza and the West Bank, as outlined in the Egyptian three-phase ceasefire initiative, is exclusively a Palestinian matter.

Rashwan said the formation of the Palestinian government has already been discussed among all Palestinian parties. 

He added that the proposal entails three successive and linked stages ending with a permanent ceasefire, stressing that the proposal was drafted after considering the perspective of all concerned parties.

The initiative aims to reach an understanding among these parties in a bid to prevent Palestinian bloodshed, stop the aggression against Gaza, and restore peace and stability to the region, added Rashwan.

He noted that a detailed draft of the proposal will be formulated and declared once Egypt receives the responses from the concerned parties.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh welcomed the Egyptian proposal during a weekly cabinet meeting in Ramallah, stressing Egypt’s keenness on Palestinian unity.

He noted, however, that any regional or international arrangement should pass only through Palestinian legitimacy, represented by the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Egyptian officials have recently held separate talks in Cairo with delegations from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad on ceasefire and prisoner-captive swap efforts

A Hamas delegation is set to visit Cairo on Friday for more talks on the Egyptian proposal.

A Hamas official said Thursday that the Palestinian group is "open to any ideas or proposals for a complete and final cessation of aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip."

12:30 Israeli bombardment hit densely populated areas in both central and southern Gaza on Friday morning.

In central Gaza, medical sources reported that 20 people were killed in Israeli airstrikes and shelling targeting homes in the Nuseirat refugee camp, while 14 people were killed in the Maghazi camp.

In the south, an Israeli airstrike on a residential building in Rafah killed 21 and wounded 50, while airstrikes killed 11 people and injured several more in the Fakhari area, east of Khan Younis.

Meanwhile, over the past two days, Israeli shelling near Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis killed 41 people including "displaced persons seeking shelter," the Palestinian Red Crescent said on Thursday.

The UN humanitarian office said an estimated 100,000 more displaced people had arrived in the already-teeming southern border city of Rafah in recent days following the intensification of fighting around Deir al-Balah and Khan Yunis.

UN humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths described on social media what he called "an impossible situation for the people of Gaza, and for those trying to help them."

"You think getting aid into Gaza is easy? Think again," he wrote Friday on X

Israel has refused to allow the unsustainable entry of adequate aid to 2.4 million Palestinians in Gaza despite a recent United Nations Security Council resolution mandating the entry of all aid to the strip.

Israel's aerial bombardment and ground invasion in Gaza have killed at least 21,320 people and injured more than 55,000, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

The Israeli army says 168 of its soldiers have been killed inside Gaza.

Children inspect the damage following Israeli bombardment in Rafah on the southern Gaza Strip on December 29, 2023. AFP

12:15 The Rafah border crossing received Thursday 12 wounded Palestinians and 10 of their companions coming from hospitals in Gaza to receive medical treatment in Egypt.

Egypt has received hundreds of wounded Palestinians for treatment in its hospitals since the start of the war.

12:00 In a recorded speech on Thursday evening, Abu Obeida, the spokesman for Ezzdin Qassam Brigades, said that Qassam fighters targeted more than 825 Israeli military vehicles since the start of the war on 7 October, including army tanks, bulldozers and armoured personnel carriers.

He added, that Qassam fighters targeted three helicopters with anti-aircraft missiles in the last two days.

Speaking for the first time in a week, Abu Obeida said that Hamas would not agree to any prisoner exchange deals before the Israeli aggression was halted.

“There is no deal in the war, and no exchange deals that we can accept before stopping the aggression against our people completely,” he said.

Abu Obeida also stressed that the priority of the resistance in the Gaza Strip is “stopping the aggression against our people, and no priority comes before that.

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