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Namibia criticizes German support for Israel over ICJ genocide case

Namibia has condemned former colonial ruler Germany for rejecting a case at a UN court accusing Israel of committing genocide in Gaza.

Germany has offered to intervene on Israel’s behalf in the case brought by South Africa at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.

President Hage Geingob urged Germany to “reconsider its untimely decision to intervene as a third-party in defense”.

In 2021 Berlin acknowledged committing genocide in Namibia.

German colonizers massacred more than 70,000 Herero and Nama people between 1904 and 1908. Historians consider this to be the 20th Century’s first genocide.

President Geingob said Germany could not “morally express commitment to the United Nations Convention against genocide, including atonement for the genocide in Namibia” and at the same time support Israel.

“The German government is yet to fully atone for the genocide it committed on Namibian soil,” he added.

On Friday the German government said the accusation of genocide against Israel was completely unfounded and amounted to a “political instrumentalization” of the UN genocide convention.

“In view of Germany’s history and the crime against humanity of the Holocaust, the government sees itself as particularly committed to the genocide convention,” it said.

It said Hamas — which attacked Israel on Oct. 7, triggering the current war — aimed to destroy Israel, which was acting in self defense.

Hamas killed about 1,300 people, most of them civilians, and took about 240 others hostage on Oct. 7.

Since then Israel has killed nearly 24,000 people, mostly children and women, in its retaliatory attacks on Gaza, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.

The UN and humanitarian organizations have warned of the risk of famine in Gaza as well as the spread of disease among displaced people and have urged that more aid be allowed into the territory.

The scale of the Israeli response prompted South Africa to ask the ICJ to consider whether Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza.

Pretoria’s case included a litany of alleged Israeli offences, from the indiscriminate killing of Palestinian civilians to the wholesale destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure.

Israel has strongly rejected the allegation, calling it “baseless” and its legal team was scathing about South Africa’s submission, arguing that if anyone was guilty of genocide, it was Hamas.