The German government does not believe Israel is committing genocide and will intervene as a third party at the International Court of Justice in defence of the Jewish state, the country announced earlier today.
The intervention comes after Israel’s legal team delivered its defence at the United Nations court in the Hague on Friday.
South Africa’s case is "a sweeping counter-factual description" of the Palestinian conflict, Israeli lawyer Tal Becker told the ICJ.
Hamas has sought "to maximise civilian harm to both Israelis and Palestinians, even as Israel seeks to minimise it,” he insisted.
The day before, South African lawyers told the court that a plan to "destroy" Gaza had been "nurtured at the highest level of the state" and was evidenced by the public statements of Israeli politicians.
President Joan Donoghue (C), and other judges in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) take their seats prior to the hearing on the genocide case against Israel, brought by South Africa, in The Hague on January 11, 2024. (Photo by REMKO DE WAAL/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)
In a statement on the case, German officials said they oppose the “political instrumentalisation” of the Genocide Convention.
"On October 2023, Hamas terrorists brutally attacked, tortured, killed and kidnapped innocent people in Israel,” they wrote.
“Hamas' goal is to wipe out Israel. Since then, Israel has been defending itself against the inhumane attack by Hamas…
“We know that different countries assess Israel's operation in Gaza differently.
"However, the Federal Government firmly and expressly rejects the accusation of genocide that has now been made against Israel at the International Court of Justice. This accusation has no basis whatsoever.
"The Federal Government supports the International Court of Justice in its work, as it has done for many decades. The federal government intends to intervene as a third party in the main hearing.”
While a final ruling by the ICJ on whether Israel has committed genocide may take years, the South African delegation has requested that the court order the Jewish state to halt its military action in Gaza.
While that decision could come within weeks, the ICJ has no enforcement powers. In 2022, the court decided against Russia in an uncontested case brought by Ukraine, ordering Russia to “immediately suspend the military operations”.