Israel Palestine Conflict

Exclusive: ‘Absolutely no indication’ Israel committing genocide in Gaza, Kirby says

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The rapidly mounting claims that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza are “meritless,” and the lawsuit brought on by South Africa is “counterproductive,” John Kirby, US National Security Council spokesman, said, adding that America will continue to stand behind Israel in the ongoing war with Hamas.

Referring to the lawsuit filed by South Africa against Israel in the International Court of Justice, Kirby told Al Arabiya English’s Riz Khan, “There is absolutely no indication that Israel is involved in genocidal actions at all.”

In the lawsuit, South Africa accuses Israel of committing genocide in its war on Gaza. It seeks a halt to the Israeli military assault that has killed more than 23,000 Palestinians, nearly half of them children.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) opened hearings in the case on Thursday, with South Africa presenting its arguments on the first day, followed by Israel’s response on Friday.

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Meanwhile, Kirby accused Hamas leader Yahya al-Sinwar of starting the war, adding that Palestinians must hold him responsible for violating an already existing ceasefire on October 7 when Hamas carried out a cross-border rampage in which Israel says 1,200 people were killed and 240 abducted.

The US official also said that while America continues to support Israel and its right to defend itself, it is constantly engaged in talks with its Middle Eastern counterparts to increase the flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza, decrease the number of civilian casualties, and prevent the conflict from escalating into a broader regional war.

Post-conflict Gaza

Now is the right time to talk about post-conflict Gaza and what governance might look like in the war-torn region after the war, Kirby said, adding that the Biden administration does not support a reoccupation of Gaza by the Israeli army.

“We don’t support a reoccupation of Gaza by Israeli military forces; we don’t support any forced displacement outside of Gaza of the Palestinian people because that is home and they have every right to go back, live, work and prosper there,” he told Al Arabiya English.

“We believe that a revamped, revitalized Palestinian authority can be a big part of that solution.”

According to Kirby, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is actively engaged with Israeli officials, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, and America’s allies in the Middle East regarding the rehabilitation of Gazans after the war.

This interview is part of international journalist Riz Khan’s tour in the US where he is conducting several interviews with public figures in preparation for the launch of his new “Riz Khan” show with Al Arabiya English.

Read more:

South Africa accuses Israel of breaching UN Genocide Convention

US State Secretary Blinken meets Egypt’s al-Sisi as Middle East diplomacy tour wraps

Palestinian death toll from Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip rises to 23,357

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