John Kirby
John KirbyREUTERS/Jim Bourg

The United States on Thursday rejected South Africa’s allegations that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) held the first hearing in the case filed by South Africa against the Jewish state.

Speaking to reporters, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said, “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.”

State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel made similar comments in his press briefing, saying that “the allegations that Israel is committing genocide are unfounded.”

“Those who are violently attacking Israel, who continue to openly call for Israel’s annihilation and the mass murder of Jews – genocide is one of the most heinous acts any entity or individual can commit, and such an allegation should only be made with the greatest of care,” he added.

At the same time, Patel also said he disagreed with the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s statement that “South Africa is functioning as the legal arm of Hamas”.

“That is not a characterization that I would make from up here when it comes to our South African partners, but again, we continue to feel very strongly that the allegations that Israel is committing genocide are unfounded,” he stated.

Kirby last week blasted South Africa’s lawsuit against Israel as “meritless, counterproductive, and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever.”