Hatem Moussa Associated Press South Africa considers that the widespread bombing of Gaza by Israel and the siege of the Palestinians living there “is of a genocidal character”.
The Canadian Press in Ottawa
Federal Liberal MPs are divided on what position Canada should take in the face of South Africa's pressure to prosecute Israel for genocide in its Gaza war.
The International Court of Justice will begin hearing South Africa's Application instituting proceedings on Thursday in The Hague. Pretoria says Israel's widespread bombardment of Gaza and siege of Palestinians living there “is genocidal in nature.”
South Africa claims that Israel expressed “the required specific intent […] to destroy the Palestinians in Gaza as part of the broader national, racial and ethnic group of Palestinians.” Pretoria also claims that certain statements by Israeli officials are proof of genocidal intent.
Israel called the allegations “disgusting” and “unfounded.”
The International Court of Justice will hear arguments from South Africa on Thursday and those from Israel on Friday.
The Canadian government has not yet expressed a position on this matter.
But later on Wednesday, the Palestinian ambassador and South Africa's high commissioner in Ottawa will both publicly call on Canada to support the “genocide” argument.
- Hostages for 100 days in Gaza: the anguished wait of families in Israel
- Blinken meets Abbas after urging Israel to spare civilians in Gaza
Liberal MP Salma Zahid agrees with this thesis, saying that Israel is violating international law.
But Liberal MPs Marco Mendicino and Anthony Housefather both say the South African request is “baseless and unacceptable” because Israel is simply trying to prevent Hamas militants from repeating the horrible attack on October 7.