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Former Israeli Supreme Court President Barak resigns from ICJ judge panel

Former Presidents of the Supreme Court Aharon Barak and Dorit Beinish attend a press conference with families whose loved ones have been abducted by Hamas terrorists and are held in Gaza, November 3, 2023. (Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Israel's former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak has resigned from the judges panel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), according to Israeli news media.

Barak noted “personal family reasons” for the decision in a letter addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Thank you for the trust you placed in me,” Barak wrote.

In January, Barak was appointed by Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara to join a panel of 15 judges at the ICJ in The Hague, where Israel is currently facing charges of “genocidal intent” after the South African government officially leveled a case against Israel.

The State of Israel strongly rejects the false charge of “genocide” against Palestinians in Gaza during the war against Hamas terrorists.

Netanyahu greenlighted Barak's appointment to the ICJ because of the retired judge’s high international standing, however, Israel will now have to find a replacement. Among the potential candidates for the position are former Supreme Court presidents Dorit Beinisch and Esther Hayut.

Israeli officials informed the Ynet news outlet that Israel will continue cooperating with the international court as long as its claims remain “fact-based.” While the South Africa case against Israel is ongoing, officials have stressed that the legal case has not "harmed the IDF's ability to advance the achievement of the war goals."

Barak (87), was born in Lithuania and ranks among Israel’s most prominent legal minds. During his tenure as the head of the Israeli Supreme Court, Barak became known for his legal activism and for attempting to balance Israel’s security needs with a strong human rights defense – a position that has led to criticism in Israel, from both the political left and right.

Following Barak's announcement, Israeli President Isaac Herzog praised him and thanked him for his service in the ICJ judge panel.

"[Barak's] special contribution and influence on the legal world in Israel and in the world was of great importance in the legal campaign against those who seek our harm,” Herzog stated.

“We will continue to stand firm against the evil, the hypocrisy, and the false plots against the State of Israel and the IDF," the Israeli president added.

Relations between South Africa and Israel have deteriorated sharply since the Hamas Oct. 7 massacre of 1,200 Israelis and the subsequent war.

The South African government, which has close ties with the Iranian regime, has refused to condemn the Hamas atrocities against Israeli civilians, including women and children. Instead, South Africa has emerged as one of its most vocal international critics.

In May, South Africa accused Israel of an intent to “destroy Palestinian life and to wipe them off the face of the earth.”

“Israel’s genocide has continued apace since the last court hearing and has just reached a new and horrific stage,” South Africa Ambassador to the Netherlands Vusimuzi Madonsela said, allegedly without presenting any credible facts to support the charge.

The United States, Germany and other Western democracies have rejected South Africa’s false accusations against Israel and backed Israel's right to defend itself against the Iranian-led terror proxies Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

South Africa's International Relations and Cooperation minister, Naledi Pandor, recently warned that the U.S. and other countries could be liable for ICJ prosecution for their support of Israel.

“Those countries and officials who continue to arm and fund Israel’s war machine will be liable for prosecution as well,” Pandor said earlier this week during a speech at Stegman Road Mosque in Cape Town.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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