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Israel's Herzog: Gaza genocide claim at ICJ 'atrocious and preposterous'

1 min

Israeli President Isaac Herzog said on Tuesday that "there is nothing more atrocious and preposterous" than a lawsuit filed in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accusing Israel of genocide against Palestinians in its Gaza offensive.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog © Mena Today 

Israeli President Isaac Herzog said on Tuesday that "there is nothing more atrocious and preposterous" than a lawsuit filed in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accusing Israel of genocide against Palestinians in its Gaza offensive.

The case, brought by South Africa, is due to begin hearings on Thursday and focus on the many civilians among the more than 23,000 people that Gaza health authorities say have been killed in the more than three-month-old war between Israel and Hamas.

Speaking to visiting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Herzog accused South Africa of hypocrisy for bringing the case, and thanked Washington for its support of Israel, which says it makes utmost efforts to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza.

"Actually our enemies, Hamas, in their charter, call for the destruction of our nation, the State of Israel - the only nation-state of the Jewish people," Herzog said.

"We will be there at the International Court of Justice and will present proudly our case of using self-defence under our most inherent right under international humanitarian law."

The offensive was triggered by a cross-border Hamas rampage by Islamist fighters who, Israel says, killed 1,200 people and abducted 240.

Since then, Israeli forces have laid much of the enclave to waste, and nearly all its 2.3 million people have been driven from their homes at least once, causing a humanitarian catastrophe.

Israel blames Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, for harm to civilians for operating among them, which the fighters deny. It insists it will press ahead until Islamist Hamas is dismantled and 132 remaining hostages recovered.

Israel must win, Herzog said, "because it's a war that affects international values and the values of the free world".

As of Tuesday, the Israeli military said 182 soldiers had been killed in Gaza fighting.

Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Peter Graff

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