Among several of the legal team, the ICJ also heard from Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC, who addressed the matter of Israel’s genocidal intent.
Ngcukaitobi said South Africa is not the only country to draw attention to Israel’s “genocidal rhetoric” against Palestinians in Gaza as several groups have warned that what is happening in Gaza is a genocide in the making.
“Israel has a genocidal intent against Palestinians in Gaza. This is evident in how systematic the military attacks are. There is also a clear pattern, with the bombing and sniping on men, woman and children,” said Ngcukaitobi.
“Their genocidal intent is rooted in the belief is that the enemy is not just Hamas. but is embedded in the everyday life of Palestinians.
Ngcukaitobi referenced several Israeli officials who compare Gazan Palestinians to “human animals”.
“Their intent to destroy Gaza has reached the highest levels of state. There are are orders to destroy and to maim what cant be destroyed. The genocidal intent is not ambiguous to Israeli soldiers on the ground. Israeli soldiers proved that they understand the order by their superiors.”
Netanyahu has recently reiterated a biblical reference to justify killing Palestinians, invoking the theory of Amalek. “Amalek is being used to justify the killing of everyone including children,” said Ngcukaitobi.
Ngcukaitobi revealed that there is now a trend for Israeli soldiers to record themselves in the form of snuff videos as they wipe out neighbourhoods.
“The scale of destruction and war on children makes clear that genocidal intent is being put into practise. This is a nakba that will overshadow the nakba of 1948.”
Ngcukaitobi concluded: “Israel has full awareness on it actions. Right from the beginning, Israel knew it was depriving Palestinians of food, water, healthcare and other essential needs. They will argue that words were taken out of context. But the genocidal speech is widespread and repeated.
“Genocidal utterances are embodied in state policy. The intent to destroy is understood by Israelis soldiers on the ground and even Israeli civilians who want palestinians dead.
Last month, South Africa launched a case at the International ICJ against Israel for what it said were "genocidal" acts in Gaza.
According to a statement, the ICJ application related to alleged violations by Israel of its obligations under the Genocide Convention. It said that "Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza."
In the application, South Africa continues:
“The acts in question include killing Palestinians in Gaza, causing them serious bodily and mental harm, and inflicting on them conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction. The acts are all attributable to Israel, which has failed to prevent genocide and is committing genocide in manifest violation of the Genocide Convention, and which has also violated and is continuing to violate its other fundamental obligations under the Genocide Convention, including by failing to prevent or punish the direct and public incitement to genocide by senior Israeli officials and others.
Follow IOL's live coverage of the ICJ hearings here.