update deskIsrael at War

Netanyahu: South Africa is ‘representing’ Hamas ‘monsters’ at Hague court

"We are fighting terrorists, and we are fighting lies," stated the Israeli prime minister in a video statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, June 18, 2023. Photo by Amit Shabi/POOL.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, June 18, 2023. Photo by Amit Shabi/POOL.

Responding to South Africa’s opening arguments against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearing on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Pretoria of “representing monsters” and “accusing Israel of genocide while it is fighting genocide.”

“We are fighting terrorists, and we are fighting lies,” he said in a Hebrew-language video statement posted on X, adding that “South Africa’s hypocrisy screams to the high heavens.

“Israel is fighting against murderous terrorists who committed horrific crimes against humanity: They slaughtered, they raped, they burned, they dismembered, they beheaded—children, women, the elderly, young men and young women,” said the premier.

“A terrorist organization carried out the worst crime against the Jewish people since the Holocaust, and now someone comes to defend it in the name of the Holocaust? What brazen gall,” added Netanyahu.

He concluded by saying Israel would “continue to fight the terrorists and continue to refute the lies.

“We will continue to uphold our just right to defend ourselves and to ensure our future—until total victory,” Netanyahu vowed.

‘One of the greatest shows of hypocrisy’

On Thursday morning, lawyers for South Africa demanded that the U.N.’s top court order an immediate end to the Israel Defense Forces’ “Operation Swords of Iron” against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

“Israel has transgressed article two of the [Genocide] Convention, committing acts that fall within the definition of genocide. The actions show a systematic pattern of conduct from which genocide can be inferred,” attorney Adila Hassim claimed to justices.

The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. Its seat is at the Peace Palace in The Hague in the Netherlands. Although the tribunal has no ability to enforce its judgments, a ruling against Israel could add international pressure to wind down combat operations in Gaza.

Israel’s legal team will be given three hours on Friday morning to refute Pretoria’s accusations.

In a statement released immediately following Thursday’s hearing, the Israel Foreign Ministry accused South Africa of acting as the “legal arm of the Hamas terrorist organization.”

“Today, we were witness to one of the greatest shows of hypocrisy in history, compounded by a series of false and baseless claims,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lior Haiat said in a statement shared on X.

South Africa “utterly distorted the reality in Gaza following the Oct. 7 massacre and completely ignored the fact that Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel, murdered, executed, massacred, raped and abducted Israeli citizens … in an attempt to carry out genocide,” added Haiat.

Pretoria’s case at The Hague “seeks to allow Hamas to return to commit the war crimes, crimes against humanity and sexual crimes they committed repeatedly on Oct. 7, as its leaders have stated,” he charged.

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