The Foreign Office, however, added that it welcomed the ICJ’s call for the immediate release of hostages and to get more aid into Gaza…reports Asian Lite News
The British government said Saturday it had “considerable concerns” about a ruling by the United Nation’s top court that Israel should do everything it can to prevent any acts of genocide in Gaza.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague on Friday handed down its first judgment in a case brought by South Africa that also ordered Israel to allow humanitarian access to the Palestinian territory, but did not call for a ceasefire.
“We respect the role and independence of the ICJ. However… we have considerable concerns about this case, which is not helpful in the goal of achieving a sustainable ceasefire,” a Foreign Office spokesperson said in a statement.
“Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas in line with IHL [international humanitarian law],” the spokesperson added.
“Our view is that Israel’s actions in Gaza cannot be described as genocide, which is why we thought South Africa’s decision to bring the case was wrong and provocative.”
South Africa has accused Israel of breaching the 1948 UN Genocide Convention — set up in the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust — during its military campaign in Gaza, sparked by Hamas’s October 7 atrocities in southern Israeli communities.
The Foreign Office, however, added that it welcomed the ICJ’s call for the immediate release of hostages and to get more aid into Gaza.
“We are clear that an immediate pause is necessary to get aid in and hostages out, and then we want to build towards a sustainable, permanent ceasefire, without a return to the fighting.”
Washington also offered backing for Israel on Friday in the wake of the ICJ ruling, with a US State Department spokesperson telling The Times of Israel: “We continue to believe that allegations of genocide are unfounded and note the court did not make a finding about genocide or call for a ceasefire in its ruling and that it called for the unconditional, immediate release of all hostages being held by Hamas.”
“The court’s ruling is consistent with our view that Israel has the right to take action to ensure the terrorist attacks of October 7 cannot be repeated, in accordance with international law,” the spokesperson said.
“We have consistently made clear that Israel must take all possible steps to minimize civilian harm, increase the flow of humanitarian assistance, and address dehumanizing rhetoric,” the US statement added, in an apparent reference to the court’s decision ordering Israel to take urgent steps to address the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza along with incendiary comments by its lawmakers.
The State Department spokesperson said the US recognizes the “vital role” that the ICJ plays in the peaceful settlement of disputes and added that it would continue to monitor the proceedings as they move forward.