Israel-Palestine live: Israel’s response to South Africa’s genocide case at the ICJ ends
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Good evening Middle East Eye readers,
The Palestinian death toll in Gaza is officially 23,469 with 59,410 wounded and more than 7,000 missing who are believed to be dead and buried under rubble.
Today Israel appeared before the International Court of Justice to defend itself against the charge of genocide.
In a bid to justify its attack on Yemen, the British armed forces minister, James Heappey, said overnight strikes on Yemen, which is more than 6,200 kilometres away, were justified.
In other developments:
- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says the organisation’s aid efforts are being hampered by Israeli actions.
- The United States has said that there are no plans to send more troops to Yemen following US and British strikes on the region, a Pentagon spokesperson said.
- An Israeli air strike has killed 11 people, Al Jazeera reported. The strike targeted the Fayyad family home in the Mashal’ah area, south of Deir el-Balah, which was housing several displaced families.
- The Palestine Telecommunications Company (Paltel) has reported a blackout in Gaza, with all internet and telecom services cut as a result of Israeli strikes on the enclave.
- Israel has reached an agreement with Qatar to facilitate the delivery of medications to hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.
- US President Joe Biden labelled Yemen's Houthi forces as a "terrorist" organisation, following a series of air strikes carried out across Yemen by American and British aircraft, ships, and submarines.
On Friday, Russia's UN ambassador denounced the American and British airstrikes on Yemen's Houthi group as "blatant armed aggression against another country".
"These states all carried out a mass strike on Yemeni territory. I'm not talking about an attack on some group within the country, but an attack on the people of the country on the whole," Vasily Nebenzya said of the US and British action.
"Aircraft were used, warships and submarines (too)," Nebenzya added.
On Friday, US President Joe Biden labelled Yemen's Houthi forces as a "terrorist" organisation, following a series of air strikes carried out across Yemen by American and British aircraft, ships, and submarines.
Biden said that Washington will take action against the Houthis if they persist in what he described as outrageous conduct.
The UK and the US have said that their air strikes in Yemen were in response to the group's sustained attacks on Red Sea shipping, which the group justifies as a reaction to the continuing war in Gaza.
The UN humanitarian coordinator said he was "deeply alarmed" on Friday over recent remarks by Israeli officials regarding "plans to encourage the mass transfer" of Palestinian civilians from Gaza to other nations, and reiterated calls for a ceasefire.
"Unless we act, it will become an indelible mark on our humanity," Martin Griffiths, the UN undersecretary for humanitarian affairs, said in a briefing to the UN Security Council.
"I reiterate my call for this council to take urgent action to bring this war to an end," he added.
Germany announced on Friday that it will intervene in the International Court of Justice case against Israel.
In a statement, Germany’s federal government wrote that since 7 October, Hamas has “brutally attacked, tortured, killed and kidnapped innocent people in Israel. Hamas’ goal is to wipe out Israel. Since then, Israel has been defending itself against the inhumane attack by Hamas.”
“The Federal Government sees itself as particularly committed to the Convention against Genocide. This convention is a central instrument of international law to implement ‘never again’. We firmly oppose political instrumentalisation.”
The statement added that the accusation of genocide against Israel has no basis whatsoever.
“The federal government intends to intervene as a third party in the main hearing,” the statement said.
The United States is not seeking war with Yemen, but is prepared to respond decisively to Houthi assaults in the Red Sea, the White House said on Friday.
"We're not interested in ... a war with Yemen. We're not interested in a conflict of any kind here," White House spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Air Force One.
"Everything the president has been doing has been trying to prevent any escalation of conflict, including the strikes last night," he said.
Israel has reached an agreement with Qatar to facilitate the delivery of medications to hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, according to an announcement from the office of the Israeli Prime Minister on Friday.
The statement said medications would be given to the hostages "in the next few days".
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations said it had received a report of an incident near Yemen's Port of Aden and that the authorities were investigating.
The material loss Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have suffered in three months of Israeli bombing is unprecedented. Not only have they lost their homes, entire neighbourhoods, and civilian infrastructure, but residents say another "immeasurable damage that cannot be repaired" has been the erasure of Gaza's history.
Since the beginning of its war on Gaza on 7 October, the Israeli military has targeted and destroyed dozens of heritage sites, including historic churches and mosques, cultural museums, and archaeological structures that date back thousands of years.
Key religious sites have been a target for Israeli air strikes and artillery shelling across the different districts of Gaza. Many of those sites had been transformed into shelters for displaced Palestinians at the time of the attack, resulting in dozens of casualties.
The United Arab Emirates's foreign ministry has condemned the Houthi attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea, saying that they constitute "an unacceptable threat to global trade, and to the security of the region”.
The Saudi-backed government of Yemen has said that the US-British air strikes on Houthi targets are a direct response to the militia's attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea.
The government condemned the Houthi attacks and said that the militia group bore responsibility for fueling tensions in the region.
The Palestine Telecommunications Company (Paltel) has reported a blackout in Gaza, with all internet and telecom services cut as a result of Israeli strikes on the enclave.
“We regret to announce that all telecom services in Gaza Strip have been lost due to the ongoing aggression. Gaza is blacked out again,” said Paltel in a post on X.
An Israeli air strike has killed 11 people, Al Jazeera reported on Friday.
The strike targeted the Fayyad family home in the Mashal’ah area, south of Deir el-Balah, which was housing several displaced families.
Bashir Fayyad, his daughter, and two sons were all killed in the attack.
“The bodies reached the hospital in torn pieces,” Al Jazeera's Ashraf Abu Amra said. “People were killed in tents set up near the house.”
A legal think tank, The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention, says Israel's claim that there is no evidence of genocidal intent in its actions in Gaza rings “hollow in light of the overwhelming evidence of genocidal rhetoric from senior Israeli officials, journalists, and Israeli military and society”.