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South Africa says the urgent application has been necessitated by widespread starvation in the Gaza Strip. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“Much like South Africa’s Application that instituted the present proceedings, they are wholly unfounded in fact and law, morally repugnant, and represent an abuse both of the Genocide Convention and of the Court itself,” Israel claims.

Israel has requested the International Court of Justice (ICJ) not to issue emergency orders for it to increase humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, describing South Africa’s request to do so as “morally repugnant”.

In a legal filing to the Court made public on Monday, Israel accused South Africa of abusing both the Genocide Convention and the Court itself.

“Much like South Africa’s Application that instituted the present proceedings, they are wholly unfounded in fact and law, morally repugnant, and represent an abuse both of the Genocide Convention and of the Court itself,” the filing said.

In its urgent application filed on March 6, South Africa said it was “compelled to return to the Court in light of the new facts and changes in the situation in Gaza — particularly the situation of widespread starvation — brought about by the continuing egregious breaches of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide . . . by the State of Israel . . . and its ongoing manifest violations of the provisional measures indicated by this Court on 26 January 2024”.

South Africa requested the Court to indicate further provisional measures and/or to modify the provisional measures indicated in its Order of 26 January 2024 … “in order urgently to ensure the safety and security of 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, including over a million children”, the ICJ stated.

It urged the Court to do so without holding a hearing, in light of the “extreme urgency of the situation.”

Flour Massacre

In its filing, Israel accused South Africa of ‘misrepresenting the reality’, claiming “it has “real concern for the humanitarian situation and innocent lives, as demonstrated by the actions it has and is taking.”

One incident that South Africa pointed to in its application was the “flour massacre” of February 29 when Israeli troops opened fire on hundreds of Palestinians awaiting food aid at the Nabulsi Roundabout, in the Sheikh Ajleen district, southwest of Gaza City. At least 112 Palestinians were killed and more than 750 wounded.

The New York Times reported that Israel was involved in the planning of that particular aid convoy that ended in its army attacking waiting Palestinians, killing and wounding more than 1,000 people in the “flour massacre”.

Gaza’s Government Office accused Israel of “premeditated intent to commit this horrific massacre, executing the victims deliberately.”

It said the army “was aware that these victims had come to this area to obtain food and aid, yet they killed them in cold blood.”

In its filing, Israel “totally rejected” what it said is “the allegation” that it “acted with the intent to harm those seeking aid…”

Instead, it said, “terrorist groups such as Hamas do not hesitate to exploit a crowd of civilians to create such disorder in order to target troops and prevent them from asserting control over the distribution of aid.”

Israel subsequently carried out more attacks on civilians who were awaiting aid, including killing at least 20 Palestinians at the Kuwait Roundabout in Gaza City, and wounding 155 more.

Total Siege

Israel further claimed in its filing that “South Africa would have the Court believe that the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is a result of Israel’s actions and these alone,”  adding that “This is false.”

UN Human Rights experts however have warned that “nowhere is safe in Gaza” as Israel declared and imposed a “total siege” on the enclave, depriving 2.3 million Palestinians of water, food, fuel, medicine, and medical supplies.

“Currently every single person in Gaza is hungry, a quarter of the population are starving and struggling to find food and drinkable water, and famine is imminent,” the experts said in a statement in January.

“Israel is destroying Gaza’s food system and using food as a weapon against the Palestinian people,” the experts said.

According to the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), February registered a 50 percent reduction of humanitarian aid entering the besieged Gaza Strip compared to January.

At least 15 children have died of malnutrition and dehydration at the Kamal Adwan Hospital, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

‘Plausible’ Case of Genocide

In December, South Africa filed a case against Israel at the ICJ accusing it of genocide in Gaza following the October 7 resistance operation.

In January, the ICJ found the case “plausible” and ordered Israel to refrain from any action that violates the Genocide Convention and ensure its forces do not commit genocidal acts against Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel stated in its filing that “South Africa’s most recent request to add to and/or modify the provisional measures indicated in the Court’s Order of 26 January 2026 hinges on a misrepresentation of reality and a sensationalist and obsessive attempt to accuse Israel of the most egregious crimes regardless of the law or the facts.”

It also accused South Africa of seeking “continual political attention and to demonstrate continuing solidarity with its ally Hamas.”

In February, South Africa submitted an urgent request to the ICJ regarding Israel’s intention to expand its military offensive in the densely overcrowded southern Gaza city of Rafah.

South African Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Naledi Pandor said in February that her government was  “horrified” at what was happening in Rafah, and questioned why no measures were being taken to put a peacekeeping force in place in Gaza to protect innocent civilians.

Over 31,800 Killed

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 31,819 Palestinians have been killed, and 73,934 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire.’

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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