The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has expressed its support for South Africa’s International Court of Justice case accusing Israel of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, calling a “historic event” in the “joint struggle against perceived injustice and genocide.”

In a written statement published on Thursday, the ministry emphasized that a central focus of the Palestinian legal and diplomatic strategy is to hold Israel accountable through legal avenues and international justice institutions.

That sentiment was echoed by the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which also expressed its support for South Africa’s stance and its efforts to bring the case to the ICJ, according to a statement published on the state news agency NNA on Thursday.

Both Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority’s ministries accused Israel of committing crimes that amount to genocide.

“The ministry expresses its aspiration for a just and quick ruling that protect the human rights laws, especially international humanitarian law,” the Lebanese foreign ministry statement said.

The Palestinian Authority ministry concluded its statement by expressing its “confidence” in the legal advocacy presented by South Africa against Israel at the court on Thursday.

Israel calls ICJ genocide case “one of the greatest shows of hypocrisy in history”

From CNN’s Amir Tal and Eyad Kourdi

The Israeli Foreign Ministry criticized South Africa in response to the International Court of Justice case that South Africa brought forth accusing Israel of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

“Today we were witness to one of the greatest shows of hypocrisy in history, compounded by a series of false and baseless claims,” Lior Haiat, a spokesperson for the ministry, said on X, formerly Twitter.

Haiat accused South Africa of “functioning as the legal arm of the Hamas” and ignoring the massacre carried out by the militant group in Israel on October 7.

“South Africa seeks to allow Hamas to return to commit the war crimes,” Haiat claimed.

What South Africa argued: South Africa has “unequivocally condemned” Hamas attacks, Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola said in court. But, he said, the oppression of Palestinian people did not just begin following the Hamas attacks, arguing it has been ongoing for years. While discussing Israel’s air strikes in Gaza since October 7, one of South Africa’s representatives, Adila Hassim, said Palestinians in Gaza have “been killed if they have failed to evacuate, in the places to which they have fled, and even while they have attempted to flee along Israeli-declared safe routes.”

“Israel’s special genocidal intent is rooted in the belief that in fact the enemy is not just the military wing of Hamas, or indeed Hamas generally, but is embedded in the fabric of Palestinian life in Gaza,” said Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, another lawyer representing South Africa.

The ICJ hearing has wrapped. Here’s what else is going on in the war today

While South Africa outlined its genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice, here are some other developments happening in Gaza and the wider region as Israel continues its war against Hamas.

  • Relatives of Israeli hostages gather near Gaza to send messages: Family members of people still held hostage in Gaza have gathered near the perimeter fence of the besieged enclave on Thursday, blasting out messages from loudspeakers in the hopes their voices would reach their loved ones on the other side of the barrier. The Hostage and Missing Families Forum said this effort is the first in a series of events designed to bring attention to the fact that there are still hostages held in Gaza 100 days into the war. The forum said the plan was for the families to shout out: “Hold on! We will not stop until you return home. All of Israel is behind you.” Israel believes 132 hostages are still being held in Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office told CNN on Friday that it believes 25 hostages are dead and still held in Gaza, leaving 107 hostages from the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, who are still thought to be alive.
  • Israel claims to have thwarted “terrorist cell”: In central Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces said on Thursday they identified “three terrorists carrying AK-47s” in the area of Al-Maghazi, which an Israeli Air Force aircraft tracked and “thwarted” as they were “exiting a tunnel shaft.” In the southern city of Khan Younis, the IDF said its aircraft killed three militants as they exited a weapons compound. It did not specify whether the fighters killed in Al-Maghazi and Khan Younis belonged to the same cell.

Top US diplomat meets Egyptian president: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken went from Tel Aviv to Cairo to meet President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. He is going to head back to the United States after concluding his multi-nation trip in the Middle East to address the Israel-Hamas war and concerns about a wider regional conflict.

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