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Israel must take steps to prevent genocide in Gaza, UN court says

The top court for the United Nations will rule on Friday whether it will grant emergency measures against Israel following accusations by South Africa that its military operation in Gaza is a state-led genocide against Palestinians.

Watch live coverage here starting at 6:30 a.m. ET

UN court rules on South Africa's genocide accusation against Israel

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Watch CBC News Network coverage of the International Court of Justice ruling on South Africa's case alleging the Israeli military operation in Gaza is 'genocidal in character' against Palestinian people in Gaza.

The top court for the United Nations will rule today whether it will grant emergency measures against Israel following accusations by South Africa that its military operation in Gaza is a state-led genocide against Palestinians.

CBC News is providing live coverage of the International Court of Justice decision. Click on the video player above starting at 6:30 a.m. ET to watch.

During two days of public hearings earlier this month, South Africa condemned Hamas for its brutal attack in Israel in October but said there is no justification for the scale of Israel's response in Gaza.

South Africa has asked the court to order Israel to cease its assault on the Palestinian territory.

Israel rejected the genocide claim outright and argued in the court that South Africa's claim was "distorted." Israel also said it had a right to defend itself and was targeting Hamas, not Palestinians civilians.

WATCH | Israel's remarks at the ICJ:

Israel's Oct. 7 response has crossed a line, South African minister says

13 days ago

Duration 1:10

In an opening statement at the UN's International Court of Justice on Thursday, South Africa accused Israel of violating the UN’s 1948 Genocide Convention in its response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. 'No armed attack on a state’s territory no matter how serious … can provide any justification for, or defence to, breaches of the Convention, whether as a matter of law or morality,' said Justice Minister Ronald Lamola.

In its initial ruling, the ICJ will not deal with the main question of whether Israel is committing genocide. The court will just look at possible emergency measures, meant as a kind of restraining order while the court looks at the full case — which usually takes years.

The decision will be legally-binding and made by a simple majority, but the court has no way to enforce it.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canada supports the court and is "watching carefully" as it deliberates on the allegation — but he would not indicate whether Canada agrees with the allegation, or even if Canada would recognize the ICJ's ruling if it does find Israel to be guilty of genocide.

"I'm not going to comment on what could be an eventual finding by a process that we support as it unfolds," Trudeau said at a news conference in New Brunswick last week.

WATCH | South Africa's remarks at the ICJ:

Israel says it is protecting its people in genocide case at ICJ

13 days ago

Duration 1:12

Israel on Friday rejected accusations brought by South Africa at UN's International Court of Justice that its military operation in Gaza following the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks is a state-led genocide campaign against the Palestinian population. 'What Israel seeks by operating in Gaza is not to destroy a people, but to protect a people, its people, who are under attack on multiple fronts,' said the Israeli Foreign Ministry's legal adviser, Tal Becker, in an opening statement.

An estimated 1,200 people were killed during the Hamas-led attack on Israel on Oct. 7, including Israeli security forces and civilians, along with foreign nationals, according to the Israeli government. About 250 others were taken hostage. Israel responded with tremendous force in Gaza, saying its attacks are intended to take out Hamas and its supporters, not civilians.

The health ministry in Gaza has said more than 25,000 people in the territory have been killed in the conflict as of Monday. The tally does not differentiate between civilians and Hamas fighters.

Ideas53:58IDEAS in the Hague: A Question of Genocide

Last week, South Africa and Israel were at the International Court of Justice with two starkly opposed versions of the conflict in Gaza: South Africa’s legal team argued Israel’s actions there violate the Genocide Convention. Israel’s lawyers argued it is acting in self-defence. The court must first decide whether to order emergency measures to stop the violence until it considers the bigger question. IDEAS host Nahlah Ayed was in the Hague. This episode features excerpts from the two-day hearings.

Israel has also cut off supply deliveries and electricity leading to a humanitarian crisis and desperate pleas for food, medicine and water. Limited humanitarian aid has been allowed into Gaza over the last 100 days.

On Wednesday, in a deal brokered by France and Qatar, shipments of medicine were delivered to Gaza for both the hostages and Palestinians.

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