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US rejects South Africa's accusation that Israel is committing 'genocide' in Gaza

Palestinians inspect a house after an Israeli air strike in the city of Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Jan. 03, 2024. (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

The United States on Wednesday firmly dismissed South Africa's allegations of Israel engaging in "genocidal" actions within the Gaza Strip as it combats the terrorist organization Hamas.

U.S. State Department Spokesman Matt Miller emphasized on Monday that the Biden administration does not view any signs of alleged “genocide” in the Gaza Strip on Israel's part.

“Genocide is one of the most heinous atrocities that any individual can commit. Those are allegations that should not be made lightly ... we are not seeing any acts that constitute genocide,” Miller stated.

White House National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby blasted South Africa for filing a formal application with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, urging the World Court to declare that Israel is violating the 1948 Genocide Convention.

In its formal application, South Africa claims that Israel's actions in Gaza against Hamas “are genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent… to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnic group.”

The claims were made without providing any credible evidence or acknowledging that Israel's goal to eliminate Hamas is an act of self-defense and that its war in Gaza is not against Palestinians.

Kirby noted that Washington finds the South African government’s legal actions are not a “positive step to take at this time.”

Diplomatic relations between Israel and South Africa are currently strained due to the government’s growing hostility towards the Jewish state. Israel recently rejected “with disgust” the South African accusation that the Israeli military is committing “genocide” in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi blasted South Africa for its condemnation and defined the anti-Israel lawsuit as a modern blood libel.

“The State of Israel has signed the convention against genocide for decades, and we certainly do not boycott the discussion. We will stand by it and repel the absurd lawsuit that is a blood libel,” Hanegbi stated.

The Biden administration has consistently defended Israel’s right to defend itself against the Hamas aggression. Back in November, Kirby rejected the widespread accusation that Israel sought to wipe Gazans off the map.

“Israel is not trying to wipe the Palestinian people off the map. Israel is not trying to wipe Gaza off the map. Israel is trying to defend itself against a genocidal terrorist threat. So if we’re going to start using that word, Fine. Let’s use it appropriately,” Kirby stated.

Acts of genocide have taken place in Middle Eastern countries, such as Syria and Iraq where regimes have systematically eradicated ethnic minorities and political opposition.

The Hamas massacre of 1,200 Israelis on Oct. 7 is the latest example of genocidal acts in the Middle East. In contrast, Israel has tried to minimize civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip by urging residents to leave dangerous war zones within the coastal enclave.

In December, Kirby praised Israel’s systematic efforts to minimize civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip.

“We believe they have been receptive to our messages here of trying to minimize civilian casualties,” Kirby stated during a press briefing.

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

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