The Hague: Proceedings began on Thursday in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, where Israel is being accused of committing "genocidal" acts during its war against Hamas in Gaza, The Times of Israel reported.

South Africa has lodged an urgent appeal to the ICJ to force Israel to "immediately suspend" its military operations in the Strip.

South Africa has based its accusation both on actions taken by Israel throughout the war and controversial comments made by Israeli officials regarding Palestinians in Gaza and how they should be treated.

At the ICJ, South Africa's Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said that Palestinians have suffered at the hands of Israel since 1948.

"The violence and the destruction in Palestine did not begin on October 7, they have experienced violence for the last 76 years," Lamola said, as per The Times of Israel.

"In the Gaza Strip since 2004 Israel exercises control over land crossings, civilian infrastructure. Entry and exit to Gaza is strictly prohibited, with Israel operating the only entry points," he said. However, as the enclave also shares a land crossing with Egypt.

"Gaza is still considered to be under occupation by international law," he said.

He further said: "South Africa unilaterally condemned the targeting of civilians by Hamas and taking of hostages on October 7, 2023. That said, no attack, however serious, can justify breaches to the convention whether as a matter of law or morality."

"Israel has crossed this line, and breached the [genocide] convention," he says. "This is why South Africa has filed this case."

The justice minister concluded by invoking Martin Luther King Jr.'s statement that the moral arc of the universe is long, but bends towards justice.

The Israel-Hamas war was sparked by the October 7 Hamas terror onslaught in which some 1,200 people in Israel were killed and approximately 240 kidnapped and held hostage in Gaza, mainly civilians.

An attorney for South Africa puts forward the accusation that Israel is committing "acts of genocide" during its war against the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.

"South Africa contends that Israel has transgressed Article II of the convention, by actions which show a systematic pattern of conduct from which genocide can be inferred," said Adila Hassim, as per The Times of Israel.

"Palestinians in Gaza are being killed by Israeli weaponry and bombs from air, land and sea. They are also at immediate risk of death from starvation and disease, due to the destruction of Palestinians towns, the limited aid being allowed in, and the impossibility of distributing aid as the bombs fall. This makes life impossible," Hassim said.