We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Palestinian sympathisers outside the ICJ hearing today Alamy
International Court of Justice

Germany rejects UN 'genocide' charge against Israel

The Irish government has come under pressure to join South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice.

THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT has sharply rejected allegations before the UN’s top court that Israel is committing “genocide” in Gaza and warned against “political instrumentalisation” of the charge.

Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said in a statement that Israel was “defending itself” after the “inhuman” attacks by Hamas of 7 October.

“In light of German history and the crimes against humanity of the Shoah, the German government is particularly committed to the (UN) Genocide Convention,” signed in 1948 in the wake of the Holocaust, Hebestreit said.

South Africa launched an emergency case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) arguing that Israel stands in breach of the Convention due to its treatment of Palestinians in Gaza.

Hebestreit said the Convention marked a “central instrument” under international law to prevent another Holocaust.

For this reason, he said, “we stand firmly against a political instrumentalisation” of the Convention.

Hebestreit acknowledged diverging views in the international community on Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

“However the German government decisively and expressly rejects the accusation of genocide brought against Israel before the International Court of Justice,” he said.

“The accusation has no basis in fact.”

Both Israel and its ally the United States have dismissed South Africa’s case as groundless and vowed a robust defence.

Fianna Fáil Senator Lisa Chambers says Germany will be found “on the wrong side of history” over its stance.

Her party’s MEPs Barry Andrews and Billy Kelleher have said Ireland should have joined South Africa in its case against Israel.

Their position comes after party leader and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin suggested opposition TDs were attempting to “create division” by calling on Ireland join the case.

Germany will intervene as a third party before the ICJ under an article allowing states to seek clarification on the use of a multilateral convention.

Pretoria wants judges to force Israel to “immediately” stop the Gaza campaign launched after the 7 October Hamas attacks that killed 1,140 people, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

At least 23,469 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in Israel’s offensive, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry.

With reporting by Mairead Maguire

© AFP 2024