Jerusalem slammed South Africa on Friday for taking a genocide case against Israel to the International Court of Justice in The Hague over its prosecution of the war in Gaza.
In a move praised by the Hamas terror group, Pretoria accused Jerusalem of violating its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention by intending “to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of
the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, told the ministers, “I would like to say a word about South Africa’s mendacious pontificating to the effect that Israel ‘is perpetrating genocide.’ No, South Africa, it is not we who have come to perpetrate genocide, it is Hamas.
“It would murder all of us if it could. In contrast, the IDF is acting as morally as possible; it is doing everything to avoid harming civilians while Hamas is doing everything to harm them and is using them as human shields,” added the premier.
“I ask: Where were you, South Africa, and the rest of those who are preaching at us, when millions were murdered and uprooted from their homes in Syria, Yemen and other areas. You were not there because everything you are doing now is only hot air, lies and vanity. We will continue our defensive war, the justice and morality of which is without peer,” said Netanyahu.
“South Africa’s claim has no factual and judicial basis and is a despicable and cheap exploitation of the court,” the statement read.
The ministry further claimed that “South Africa is collaborating with a terror group that calls for the destruction of the State of Israel,” in reference to Hamas.
Additionally, the ministry accused Hamas of attempting “to carry out genocide” on Oct. 7, when some 3,000 heavily armed terrorists crossed the Gaza border into Israel to murder some 1,200 people, wound thousands more, and take around 240 hostages back to the Strip.
Hamas also engaged in acts of rape, sexual abuse, torture and mutilation during the bloody hours-long rampage across the northwestern Negev.
Also, the ministry emphasized that the IDF does not target civilians in Gaza and is only interested in targeting terrorists. “Israel has clarified that the residents of the Gaza Strip are not the enemy.”
“We call on the International Court of Justice and the international community to reject the baseless claims of South Africa out of hand,” the statement concluded.
For its part, Hamas praised South Africa for initiating the legal proceedings against Israel, with the terror group saying in a statement that “we highly appreciate South Africa’s move to submit a request to the International Court of Justice to initiate proceedings to investigate the Zionist entity’s criminal act of committing genocide against our Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.”
Hamas called on other countries to submit similar requests “against this Nazi entity.”
The Nazi genocide against the Jews in Europe was one of the main drivers for the adoption of the Genocide Convention by the United Nations in 1948.
“It is a grave misstep that the South African government, amid a myriad of pressing domestic and international issues, has singularly chosen to target Israel by referring it to the International Court of Justice in the Hague,” according to a statement by the South African Zionist Federation. “This move seems designed to distract from the government’s own spectacular domestic failures, and only serves to squander South Africa’s dwindling international standing on a misguided action.
“Labeling Israel’s actions as ‘genocide’ is not only false but Orwellian, contradicting the very definition of genocide as outlined in the Genocide Convention. The sole perpetrator of genocidal acts in this conflict is Hamas, a globally recognized terrorist organization. Hamas’ charter and actions, including the horrific events of Oct. 7, clearly demonstrate its genocidal intent and abilities against Israel and the Jewish people. This while other minorities including Christians are being attacked in the region at the same time,” added the statement.
Last month, Israel recalled its ambassador to South Africa for consultations after the country’s ruling African National Congress accused the Jewish state of “genocide” in Gaza.
ANC spokeswoman Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri had said, “We cannot sit back and watch the genocidal actions of the Israeli regime.”
The move came two weeks after Pretoria recalled its diplomats from Israel.
South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor spoke by phone with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh on Oct. 17, less than two weeks after the terror group’s assault on southern Israel.