Even accusing Israel of genocide crosses moral threshold: France FM on ICJ lawcase

Ahram Online , Wednesday 17 Jan 2024

France is staunchly backing Israel, alongside Germany and the US, rejecting South Africa case at the UN’s top court that accuses Israel of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

The father of Masa Shoman carries the body of his daughter who was killed during Israeli bombardment during her funeral in Rafah, on the southern Gaza Strip, on January 17, 2024. AFP


“Accusing the Jewish state of genocide crosses a moral threshold. The notion of genocide cannot be exploited for political ends,” French foreign minister, Stephane Sejourne told parliament.

South Africa has launched the emergency case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), arguing that Israel stands in breach of the UN Genocide Convention signed in 1948 and that Israel's war on Gaza "is genocidal" in character because it is "intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part" of the Palestinian population in the strip.

It wants the court to “immediately” stop Israel’s military operations in the besieged Palestinian territory of Gaza.

According to Axios, the Israeli Foreign Ministry is trying to pressure the court and quash South Africa's Gaza genocide case. The Israeli Foreign Ministry cable states that Israel's "strategic goal" is for the court to reject the request for an injunction, refrain from determining that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, and recognize that the Israeli occupation army is operating in the Strip according to international law.

"We ask for an immediate and unequivocal public statement along the following lines: To publicly and clearly state that YOUR COUNTRY rejects the outrageous, absurd, and baseless allegations made against Israel," reads the cable, a copy of which was obtained by Axios from three different Israeli officials.

In the cable, the Israeli embassies were instructed to ask diplomats and politicians at the highest level to publicly endorse Israel and to acknowledge that Israel is acting in self-defense.

Even before the hearings were set to begin, the US chastised South Africa for filing genocide charges against 'Israel'. US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller has said the South African case was “unfounded,” claiming it was “those who are violently attacking Israel who continue to openly call for the annihilation of Israel.”

Germany, the perpetrator of the Holocaust and home of the Nazi regime, blasted the genocide accusation and  pledged to intervene in the ICJ case on Israel’s behalf.

Like Israel's defense at the ICJ, Berlin government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit justified Israel's violence as "self-defense."

Namibia, a former German colony, has expressed “deep concern” over Germany’s stance, criticizing its “inability to draw lessons from its horrific history.”

Germany was responsible for the massacres of more than 70,000 Indigenous Herero and Nama people in Namibia between 1904 and 1908, which historians widely consider the first genocide of the 20th century. Along with the US, the UK, and France, Germany has endorsed Israel's war and opposed any ceasefire despite the mounting toll of Palestinians killed.

Israel has killed at least 24,448 Palestinians in Gaza and wounded 61,504 since it started the war in October.

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