How to dismantle South Africa’s ‘genocide’ case against Israel

They key points to make the case for Israel


Judges enter the courtroom prior to the verdict in the case against Japanese whaling at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, the Netherlands, on March 31, 2014. The UN's top International Court of Justice will rule today whether Japan has the right to hunt whales in the Antarctic, in an emotive case activists say is make-or-break for the giant mammal's future. AFP PHOTO / ANP / MARTIJN BEEKMAN ***Netherlands out*** (Photo credit should read Martijn Beekman/AFP via Getty Images)

As retired Supreme Court president Aharon Barak travels to the Hague to make Israel’s case in the Hague today, other lawyers around the world are fighting back in different ways.

Legal advocacy group UK Lawyers for Israel has created a series of briefing notes on how international law applies to Israel’s war against Hamas to equip non-experts with the tools to defend the Jewish state and counter the large amount of misinformation on social media. We summarise them here.

Claim: Israel is committing genocide

 There is no evidential basis for this claim. Genocide is defined in Article II of the Genocide Convention of 1948 as committing various acts with intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, in whole or in part. The Israeli government has repeatedly stated that its objective is to destroy Hamas. Hamas is not a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, and no Israeli leader with authority over the conduct of the military operation has indicated an intention to destroy the Palestinian people.

The IDF has power to kill most of the population of the Gaza Strip but has not done so. Although tragic, the Palestinian casualties so far, including terrorists and those killed by terrorists, amount to less than 1 per cent of the population of Gaza. Israel has repeatedly urged and helped Palestinians to move to safer areas.​

Claim: Israel illegally targets hospitals

Hospitals and other medical units must be protected in all circumstances. However, they lose their protection if they are being used to commit acts harmful to the enemy, according to articles in the Geneva Convention, Rule 28 of the ICRC Rules of Customary International Humanitarian Law, and article 27 of the 1899 and 1907 Hague Regulations. IDF footage has revealed a Hamas-built tunnel network under Al Shifa hospital and other medical sites.

Claim: Israel’s operation is disproportionate

No. Suffering fewer casualties is not what proportionality means. It is recognised that a substantial number of civilian casualties are likely to be inevitable where enemy forces are embedded in a civilian population. It has been reported that civilians accounted for 89 per cent of the casualties in conflicts in densely populated areas worldwide in 2021. The IDF has estimated that about a third of Palestinians killed in the current operation were terrorists. ​An attack is disproportionate if it may be expected to cause incidental civilian casualties and/or damage to civilian objects which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

Claim: Israel is illegally preventing aid getting into Gaza

Wrong. Israel is​ not only ​allowing ​a​t least 100 humanitarian aid trucks and about 70,000 litres of fuel​ a day​ into Gaza, a country engaged in armed conflict has no obligation to supply anything to a territory under its enemy’s control. On the contrary, there is an obligation on all states not to provide any form of support directly or indirectly to terrorists.​

​For the full briefing, visit

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