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Israel shows graphic images of October 7 Hamas victims to UN’s top court as it hits back at ‘profoundly distorted’ genocide case brought by South Africa


Israel has presented graphic images of the victims of Hamas’s October 7 attacks as it hit back at what it called a ‘profoundly distorted’ and ‘malevolent’ genocide case against it at the UN’s top court.

This comes after South Africa launched an emergency case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) arguing that Israel stands in breach of the UN Genocide Convention, signed in 1948 in the wake of the Holocaust.

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola told the court on Thursday that Israel had ‘crossed the line’ and that not even the brutality of the Hamas attack, which Pretoria condemned, could justify breaches to the convention.

But Israel and its ally the United States have dismissed the case and vowed a robust defence, while UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak yesterday labelled it ‘completely unjustified and wrong’ and reiterated Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’.

Tal Becker, a top lawyer representing Israel, said Israel’s military campaign in Gaza amounts to acts of ‘self-defence’ against Hamas and other terror groups.

Using videos and pictures, Becker painted a graphic image of the horrors of the October 7 attacks on the robed judges in the Peace Palace in The Hague.

He told the court that during the attacks, Hamas militants ‘tortured children in front of parents, parents in front of children, burned people… systematically raped and mutilated.’

He stressed that Israel’s response was in self-defence and not aimed at the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip.

‘Israel is in a war of defence against Hamas, not against the Palestinian people,’ said Becker.

‘In these circumstances, there can hardly be a charge more false and more malevolent than the allegation against Israel of genocide.’


He showed a reel of shocking images of some of the roughly 240 people taken hostage on October 7 and asked: ‘Are these faces not deserving of our protection?’


The presentation included pictures of Noa Argamani, a 26-year-old who was snatched by Hamas from the Supernova music festival and filmed begging for her life on the back of the bike, screaming ‘Don’t kill me!’

Haunting images were also shown of teenage hostages Liri Albag, Karina Ariev, Daniela Gilboa, and Agam Berger.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the run-up to the hearings: ‘The State of Israel is accused of genocide at a time when it is fighting genocide.

‘A terrorist organisation carried out the worst crime against the Jewish people since the Holocaust, and now someone comes to defend it in the name of the Holocaust? What brazen gall. The world is upside down,’ he added.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said the South African case was ‘unfounded’.

The ICJ will likely rule within a matter of weeks on South Africa’s request.

Its rulings are final and legally binding but it has little power to enforce them.

A month after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the ICJ ordered a halt to the military operation – to no avail.

For this emergency proceeding, the court will not rule on the fundamentals of the case – whether Israel is committing genocide.





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