Israel’s president says the UN world court misrepresented his comments in its genocide ruling

The United Nations’ top court stopped short Friday of ordering a cease-fire in Gaza in a genocide case but demanded that Israel try to contain death and damage in its military offensive in the tiny coastal enclave. (Jan. 26)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s president on Sunday accused the U.N. world court of misrepresenting his words in a ruling that ordered Israel to take steps to protect Palestinians and prevent a genocide in the Gaza Strip.

The court’s ruling on Friday cited a series of statements made by Israeli leaders as evidence of incitement and dehumanizing language against Palestinians. They included comments by President Isaac Herzog made just days after the Oct. 7 Hamas cross-border attack that triggered Israel’s war against the Islamic militant group.

Hamas militants killed around 1,200 people in that attack and took about 250 others hostage. The Israeli offensive has left more than 26,000 Palestinians dead, displaced more than 80% of Gaza’s inhabitants and led to a humanitarian crisis in the territory.

Talking about Gaza’s Palestinians at an Oct. 12 news conference, Herzog said that “an entire nation” was responsible for the massacre, the report by the International Court of Justice noted.

But Herzog said that it ignored other comments in the same news conference in which he said “there is no excuse” for killing innocent civilians, and that Israel would respect international laws of war.

“I was disgusted by the way they twisted my words, using very, very partial and fragmented quotes, with the intention of supporting an unfounded legal contention,” Herzog said Sunday.

In its ruling, the court stopped short of ordering ordering an end to the Israeli military offensive. But it ordered Israel to do all it can to prevent death, destruction and any acts of genocide in Gaza and issued a series of orders to Israel that include an end to incitement and submitting a progress report to the court within one month.