President Isaac Herzog on Monday, published an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal heavily criticizing the case brought by South Africa against Israel in the International Court of Justice at the Hague, and in particular noting how the case manipulated the President’s own words, and failed to recognise the true magnitude of the crimes against humanity perpetrated by Hamas.
In the piece, the President wrote that, “Reality and truth have begun to be ignored in the international legal system. Justice is unrecognizable, and noble ideals are perverted by terrorists and cynics.”
He added South Africa’s accusation against Israel was an “absurd claim and the abuse of an august international forum convened to weigh its merits remind us how far we’ve come from the moral clarity of the fight against Nazism (after which the Court of Justice at The Hague was established).”
He noted, “Amid the many demonstrable misrepresentations that emerged from the accusation against Israel, one caught my attention—a quote attributed to me. The misconstrued quote was then used at The Hauge by South Africa in an attempt to prove Israel’s intent to commit genocide and thus invoke the jurisdiction of the court.”
He pointed out, “The fact is that many Palestinian civilians entered Israel on Oct. 7 on the heels of the Hamas terrorists and participated in murder, rape and looting, much of it documented on film. Palestinians were filmed cheering the massacre and jeering and attacking the hostages as they were led into captivity. I also pointed out that Hamas operates from within the heart of its civilian population and enjoys broad support. I then stated, in no uncertain terms, that there are many innocent Palestinians, and that the state of Israel and our security forces don’t view innocent civilians as targets in any way. I made it clear that Israel acts in keeping with international law.”
He stressed, “The claim that Israel is committing genocide can’t rest on accurate information, because it is a lie. Israel is acting to protect its citizens from an explicitly genocidal enemy, as we are required to do under international law. Israel is doing so with utmost concern for civilian life, as experts from other Western militaries know well. The civilian casualties in Gaza are a tragedy—one due to Hamas’ decision to attack Israelis and the way Hamas fights from under and behind its own civilians.”
The President stressed, “Differentiating civilians from combatants isn’t just a basic part of my own worldview and Israel's basic values, it is an essential to the values of humanity. We are at war with Hamas, not with the civilians of Gaza. I reject and condemn any call for their harm. Humanitarian aid must reach them, as it is already reaching them, even though more than 130 of our people remain hostages in the hands of Hamas, a fact that hasn’t been sufficiently appreciated as an international priority.” He noted that in Israel, “many argue - and I fully understand this position - that by allowing aid we are helping Hamas which is holding and abusing our kidnapped citizens, and giving up a pressure point that could hasten their release and shorten the war.”
He concluded, “The world cannot disregard what we saw on Oct. 7. The Court of Justice at The Hague ignored most of these crimes, but we in Israel cannot. The free world must not forget that the crimes against humanity in this war were perpetrated, and continue to be perpetrated, by Hamas and its allies in Gaza, Lebanon, Yemen and Iran. The South African case, brought in support of Hamas, is a blood libel against the nation-state of the Jewish people—a shameful low for an international system that emerged from the ashes of the Holocaust. This is an abandonment of moral clarity, the desertion of the vision of international justice and its replacement by cynical politics and outright falsehoods, will have repercussions far beyond Israel.”