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Israel Scrambles for a Defense Against Charge of Genocide

Tal Becker, Israel legal advisor. Credit: ICJ

Israel did exactly what South Africa warned them against yesterday. Yesterday, South Africa had made a point of saying that they had deliberately avoided using inflammatory photos and/or videos of the horrors in Gaza, so the court would concentrate on the actual case. However, Israel this morning presented their Oct. 7 horror show, and added claims that have been long discredited.

Tal Becker, legal advisor for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, stated as fact: “They tortured children in front of parents and parents in front of children, burned people, including infants alive, and systematically raped and mutilated scores of women, men and children.” That Becker would, with reckless disregard, repeat such proven falsehoods betrays a level of desperation. Just one of Israel’s many canards was that Hamas burned a baby in an oven, another that Hamas beheaded 40 babies—false stories meant to do nothing but inflame. The terror of Oct. 7 is horrible enough, it is both unnecessary and disgraceful to lie about it. But, as South Africa made clear yesterday, the most atrocious terrorist act has no bearing on the deliberate policy to carry out genocide.

Becker concluded that the charges Israel is facing should be leveled at Hamas. “If there have been acts that may be characterized as genocidal, then they have been perpetrated against Israel,” Becker said. Hamas has, he said, a “proudly declared agenda of annihilation, which is not a secret and is not in doubt … Hamas seeks genocide against Israel.”

Becker said that South Africa’s interpretation of events was “grossly distorted. The appalling suffering of civilians, both Israeli and Palestinian, is first and foremost the result of Hamas’s strategy…. Israel is in a war of defense against Hamas, not against the Palestinian people.” Further, South Africa’s request for an immediate halt to the Gaza fighting, he said, amounts to an attempt to prevent Israel from defending itself against that assault. Another member of the team, Christopher Staker, called South Africa’s request “frankly astonishing.” He said that, if granted, it would mandate “unilateral suspension of military operations by one party to the conflict, only leaving the other party free to continue attacks which it has a stated intention to do.” That is, stopping Israel’s invasion into Gaza will cause Hamas to invade Israel.

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