In a televised address on Tuesday (Jan. 02), the chief of Hamas’ political bureau thanked South Africa for launching a case against Israel at the UN’s top court.
South Africa alleges that acts and omissions by Israel in the Gaza Strip are genocidal in an 84-page long application.
Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh hailed an important lawsuit.
“I applaud all the positions of support and especially the state of South Africa, which filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice against the occupying state for its crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide, and we appreciate the political and legal importance of this lawsuit.”
Israel has rejected the accusations.
South Africa asked The Hague-based court to issue an interim order for Israel to immediately suspend its military operations in Gaza. A hearing into that request is likely in the coming days or weeks. The case, if it goes ahead, will take years, but an interim order could be issued within weeks.
The military branch of the Hamas launched the deadliest attack in Israel on October 7. Some 1,200 people mainly civilians were killed, and hundreds abducted.
It led to the latest war in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“This aggression will stop under the blows of the resistance and the steadfastness of our people; the occupation has no choice but to respond to the will of our people. I would like to point out here that, in light of the initiatives and offers that reached the leadership of the movement through the brothers in Egypt and Qatar, and after studying these ideas positively, the movement has presented its position and vision to Qatar and Egypt, which is based on a comprehensive cessation of aggression against our people, providing relief to them, and responding to their rightful and just demands.”
The Israeli military offensive has killed over 20,000 people in Gaza and worsened a humanitarian crisis.
South Africa has condemned “all violations of international law by all parties, including the direct targeting of Israeli civilians and other nationals and hostage-taking by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups.”
South Africa and Israel are both members of the United Nations and are parties to the Genocide Convention.
What next once the war in Gaza ends?
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said on Tuesday he was ‘open to the idea’ of a single Palestinian administration to govern Gaza, which is ruled by the militant group, and the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinian groups have been divided on a common strategy for years.
The U.S. “rejected” Tuesday recent comments made by two Israeli ministers who suggested that Palestinians should be displaced out of Gaza, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.
Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said Monday (Jan. 01st): “We must promote a solution to encourage the emigration of Gaza’s residents.”
Israel ended the withdrawal of its troops and settlers in 2005, ending a presence inside Gaza that began in 1967.
In mid-October, Egypt once again refused to accept what it calls the transfer of Israel’s responsibility as an occupying power, including to “provide for the safety of civilians” living under its occupation.
Israel’s army said Tuesday (Jan.02) that several thousand troops would be taken out of Gaza in the coming weeks, though it has not said publicly whether the withdrawal reflects a new phase of the war.
The move is in line with the plans that Israeli leaders have outlined for a low-intensity campaign, expected to last for much of the year, that focuses on remaining Hamas strongholds.
Source of this news: Africa News