Israel has said that South Africa is not telling the truth in its case against Israel at the International Court of Justice. South Africa is accusing Israel of committing genocide.
South Africa gave a big description of what could have happened differently in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, according to Israeli lawyer Tal Becker.
South Africa accuses Israel of killing many Palestinians in the fighting in Gaza.
It also wants the court to make Israel stop its military action.
The ICJ is the top court of the United Nations. The decisions of the ICJ are supposed to be followed by countries like Israel and South Africa, but they cannot be forced to follow them.
Israel is presenting its argument to the court one day after South Africa did.
On Thursday, there was fighting outside the court in The Hague, Netherlands between Palestinian and Israeli supporters. Police tried to keep them apart.
Many people with flags from Palestine gathered outside the Peace Palace, shouting for the fighting to stop. Israeli supporters put up a screen to show pictures of more than 130 hostages still in Gaza.
South Africa says Israel is breaking a promise to stop genocide. Both countries agreed to this promise in 1949.
Israel has been fighting against Hamas, the group that runs Gaza, since October 7th. This was because hundreds of Hamas fighters attacked Israel, killing around 1,300 people and taking about 240 others as hostages back to Gaza.
The health ministry in Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, says that over 23,350 people, mostly women and children, have been killed by Israel in the war.
In the beginning of the trial, Tal Becker said that even though it’s sad that civilians are suffering, Hamas is trying to hurt both Israelis and Palestinians, while Israel is trying to protect them.
He said that South Africa has given the court a very wrong and misleading picture of the facts and the law. Their whole case relies on a purposely selected, taken out of context, and manipulative description of the current fighting.
On Thursday, 17 judges in the court listened to lawyer Tembeka Ngcukaitobi from South Africa. He said Israel’s intentions to commit genocide were clear from the way they were conducting their military attacks.
Israel had a plan to “destroy” Gaza, he said, which “has been nurtured at the highest level of state”. Israel planned to “destroy” Gaza, and he said it was a plan made by the state’s highest leaders.
Adila Hassim, who is from South Africa, told the court that the Palestinian people are suffering every day. They are losing their lives, homes, dignity, and humanity.
“Only a court order can make the suffering stop. ”
South Africa said that Israel’s actions are meant to destroy a large part of the Palestinian people.
On Thursday, the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, criticized South Africa for not speaking out against the terrible things happening in Syria and Yemen that are being done by people who work with Hamas. He said South Africa is being hypocritical.
“Today everything was upside-down. ” Israel is being accused of killing lots of people, but they say they are fighting against killing lots of people.
A representative for UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that Mr. Sunak thinks that South Africa’s case is completely unfair and incorrect.
“The UK government supports Israel’s right to defend itself according to international law,” he said.
The ICJ’s decision on the genocide accusation will just be a point of view, but a lot of people are paying close attention to it.
It may take a long time for a decision to be made, but the court may decide quickly on whether Israel should stop its military actions in response to South Africa’s request.