One day before the International Court of Justice heard allegations of genocide against Israel in the Gaza war, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock backed the ally. The Green politician said during a visit to Israel's neighboring country Lebanon that she sees no intent to commit genocide in Israel's military actions in the Gaza Strip.
Baerbock promised the Lebanese army support worth 15 million euros. One of the largest attacks on shipping by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen took place in the Red Sea shortly before their talks.
Intention is the decisive question in allegations of genocide
Regarding the proceedings before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, which begin on Thursday, Baerbock said that it is a fact that genocide by definition requires the intention to destroy, in whole or in part, members of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group because of their membership in this group. “I cannot see this intention in Israel’s self-defense against an armed Hamas terrorist organization,” said the Green politician.
Israel has to answer for the first time before the International Court of Justice on charges of genocide. South Africa has taken the country to the United Nations' highest court. However, to prove the charge it is necessary to prove intent to commit genocide. In an interview with the German Press Agency, international law professor Holger Hestermeyer from the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna described this as the “heart” of the genocide accusation. But there are other allegations in the proceedings that are less difficult to substantiate, he added.
Israeli politician reiterates: burn Gaza down
An Israeli politician again called for Gaza to be burned down. The right-wing Knesset member from the ruling Likud party, Nissim Vaturi, defended his now deleted post on the online platform X (formerly Twitter) in an interview with the radio station Kol Barama. Almost a month and a half ago, Vaturi wrote: "Burn Gaza now and nothing less!" In the radio interview, Vaturi said that he doesn't regret his X post.
According to the Hamas-controlled health authority, 23,357 people have been killed as a result of Israeli military operations since the start of the war. In addition, almost 59,401 other people were injured. The information cannot currently be independently verified.
Attacks in Khan Yunis and central Gaza
Meanwhile, the Israeli army continued its attacks in the city of Khan Yunis and in the area of the Al-Magasi refugee district in the center of the Gaza Strip. Israel's operations are responding to the worst massacre in its history.
On October 7, terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups killed more than 1,200 people in Israel. Israel believes that 136 hostages are still being held in the Gaza Strip. 25 of them are probably no longer alive.
As the Israeli military announced, around 150 targets of the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas were attacked over the course of the previous day. In particular, in Khan Yunis, the largest city in the south of the sealed-off coastal strip, the army says it has taken action against Hamas terrorists and killed dozens.
In the Al-Magasi refugee camp, 15 underground tunnel shafts were also uncovered. During further operations in the area in the center of the Gaza Strip, the troops also discovered rocket launchers, drones and explosive devices, the military said. According to the UN relief agency for Palestine refugees UNRWA, more than 33,000 people live in Al-Magasi in an area of 0.6 square kilometers.
Israel's war cabinet discusses hostage issue
Israel's war cabinet met in the evening to discuss efforts to release more hostages in the Gaza Strip. According to unconfirmed Israeli media reports, Qatar is said to have presented a new proposal for a deal. Israeli media reported unanimously that this should be discussed at the meeting.
According to the proposal, all hostages should be released in return for a complete withdrawal of the Israeli army from the Gaza Strip. The leadership of the Islamist Hamas should go into exile as part of the agreement.
Major attack by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea
During the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, 18 drones and three missiles were intercepted by US and British units, the responsible US regional command announced. The US regional command said the missiles were fired from Yemeni areas controlled by the Houthi rebels into the southern Red Sea.
"According to current knowledge, the attack was the Houthis' most extensive attack on international shipping since mid-October," said a spokesman for the Foreign Office in Berlin on Wednesday. "This attack and the other attacks, the ongoing attacks, show that the Houthis are clearly committed to escalation against international merchant shipping, as well as against the ships of our partners and allies in the region," he said.
Since the Gaza war broke out between Israel and the Islamist Hamas, the Houthis have repeatedly attacked ships with alleged Israeli connections in the Red Sea. The rebels also repeatedly attack Israel directly with drones and rockets.
WHO convoys for Gaza failed due to lack of approval
Since Christmas, six planned World Health Organization (WHO) convoys to support hospitals in the Gaza Strip have failed. There were no safety assurances, reported WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "We call on Israel to approve the requests of the WHO and our partners for the distribution of humanitarian assistance," Tedros said.
The next convoy is planned for Thursday, said WHO representative for the Palestinian territories, Rik Peeperkorn. The WHO hopes that the necessary approvals will arrive in time. He criticized the complicated process for obtaining such transit permits. This delays urgently needed deliveries.