South Africa’s Israel genocide claim has no legal merit, UK former attorney general says

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South Africa’s Israel genocide claim has no legal merit, UK former attorney general says

Sir Michael Ellis tells Commons that South Africa itself is in danger of becoming a 'terrorist proxy'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Sir Michael Ellis
Sir Michael Ellis

Former Attorney General Sir Michael Ellis has told MPs he believes South Africa’s forthcoming case against Israel at the International Court of Justice “has no legal merit whatsoever” and claimed the country is itself “in danger of becoming a terrorist proxy”.

Speaking in the Commons on Monday, the Conservative MP added:”South Africa is geopolitically moving towards Iran and openly supports Hamas.

“Indeed, its Foreign Secretary said that Israel does not even have the right to defend itself.

“It is in danger of becoming a terrorist proxy. As a former Attorney General, I can say that South Africa’s case at The Hague has no legal merit whatsoever. Israel’s actions are in lawful self-defence.

“The case is a dangerous political stunt that the United States has already criticised.”

Ellis, who is himself Jewish, urged Foreign Office Minister Andrew Mitchell to criticise South Africa’s action on behalf of the UK government.

He responded:”The South Africans are entitled under the rules to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice in the way that they have and, as I have repeatedly said, there will be different views across the House on whether it is helpful to do so at this stage.

“In respect of what my right hon. and learned Friend says about South Africa, South Africa is a pluralist democracy and there are many different voices that come out of it.
“Britain has a close, deep and abiding historical relationship with South Africa and we give our advice to the South African Government whenever we have the opportunity to do so.”

Tory MP Stephen Crabb protested the South Africa’s attempt to pursue a “genocide” charge at the ICJ hearing later this week was ” actually an inversion of the truth in this context.”

Mitchell replied saying:”I do think that using such inflammatory terms is unhelpful” but added “South Africa is entirely entitled to rrefer this matter.”

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