Ireland to add voice in South African genocide case against Israel

Ireland last week took steps toward recognising a Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip

Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin. He has described the actions of Hamas and Israel as a breach of humanitarian law 'on a mass scale'. AFP
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Ireland sent its strongest signal yet on Wednesday of its concern about military operations in Gaza, with Foreign Minister Micheal Martin saying it plans to intervene in South Africa's genocide case against Israel.

Mr Martin said that, while it was for the International Court of Justice to decide whether genocide is being committed, he wanted to emphasise that Hamas's October 7 attack and what is happening in Gaza now "represents the blatant violation of international humanitarian law on a mass scale".

"The taking of hostages. The purposeful withholding of humanitarian assistance to civilians. The targeting of civilians and of civilian infrastructure The indiscriminate use of explosive weapons in populated areas. The use of civilian objects for military purposes. The collective punishment of an entire population. The list goes on. It has to stop. The view of the international community is clear: enough is enough," he said in a statement.

In January, the International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, ordered Israel to refrain from any acts that could fall under the Genocide Convention and to ensure its troops commit no genocidal acts against Palestinians, after South Africa accused it of state-led genocide in Gaza.

Israel and its western allies described the allegation as baseless. A final ruling in South Africa's ICJ case in The Hague could take years.

Mr Martin did not say what form the intervention would take or outline any argument or proposal Ireland plans to put forward.

Mr Martin's department said such third-party interventions do not take a specific side in the dispute, but that it would be a chance for Ireland to put forward its interpretation of one or more of the provisions of the Genocide Convention at issue in the case.

The Hamas-led attack killed 1,200 people and resulted in about 240 being taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

Since then, Israel’s assault on Gaza has killed more than 32,400 people, health authorities in Gaza have said.

UN expert says Israel has committed genocide in Gaza - video

UN expert says Israel has committed genocide in Gaza

UN expert says Israel has committed genocide in Gaza

Long a champion of Palestinian rights, Ireland last week joined Spain, Malta and Slovenia in taking the first steps toward recognising statehood declared by the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.

Israel told the countries that their plan constituted a "prize for terrorism" that would reduce the chances of a negotiated resolution to the conflict between the neighbours.

Updated: March 28, 2024, 12:51 PM