Paris – France does not back a case against Israel at the UN’s top court accusing the country of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, the French foreign minister said on Wednesday.
“Accusing the Jewish state of genocide crosses a moral threshold. The notion of genocide cannot be exploited for political ends,” Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne told parliament.
South Africa has launched an emergency case at the International Court of Justice, arguing last week that Israel stands in breach of the UN Genocide Convention signed in 1948 in the wake of the Holocaust.
It wants the court to “immediately” stop Israel’s military operations in the besieged Palestinian territory of Gaza.
Fighting has ravaged Gaza since Palestinian militant group Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attacks on Israel that resulted in the death of about 1,140 people, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.
#France does not back a case against #Israel at the UN’s top court accusing the country of committing genocide against Palestinians in #Gaza, the French foreign minister says.https://t.co/cp9xHPjQf1
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) January 17, 2024
At least 24,448 Palestinians, more than 70 percent of them women, young children and adolescents, have been killed in the subsequent Israeli bombardments and ground assaults in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.
Israel and its ally the United States have dismissed the case at the ICJ as groundless.
US State Department spokesperson 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”.
The German government has “decisively and expressly” rejected South Africa’s accusations against Israel, calling it a “political instrumentalisation” of the UN Genocide Convention with “no basis in fact”.
Namibia, a former German colony, has expressed “deep concern” over Germany’s stance, criticising 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.
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