International Court of Justice
International Court of JusticeReuters

The British government on Saturday said it had "considerable concerns" about a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Israel should do everything it can to prevent any acts of genocide in Gaza, AFP reported.

"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."

The statement came after the ICJ in The Hague on Friday handed down its first judgement in the case brought by South Africa against Israel.

The UK Foreign Office said in its statement, however, 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," it said.

The United States has also rejected South Africa’s allegations that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.

“We have said repeatedly that we believe these allegations, this case is unfounded and that there is no basis for accusations of genocide against — against Israel. That’s not a word that ought to be thrown around lightly. And we certainly don’t believe that it applies here,” White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said earlier this month.

Germany has announced that it will intervene as a third party in South Africa’s case against Israel at the ICJ and will present its own case to the court that Israel has not committed genocide.

Germany’s government said in a statement that there is “no basis whatsoever” for an accusation of genocide against Israel at the International Court of Justice.