Flames and smoke rise from a bus hit by an Israeli attack in Salah al-Din Road, central Deir al Balah, Gaza.
His comments came after South Africa presented a case to the United Nations accusing Tel Aviv of “genocidal acts”.
Israel has been bombing Gaza for the past three months in retaliation for the terrorist attack on the country by Hamas on October 7.
Tens of thousands of civilians have died as a result of the bombardment, which has led to a humanitarian crisis.
But appearing on Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips today, Lord Cameron rejected South Africa’s accusations.
The foreign secretary said: “I think the South African action is wrong, I think it’s unhelpful, I think it shouldn’t be happening.
“I’m not a lawyer, but they are talking here about genocide. To prove that, you’ve got to prove that there was intent.
“I take the view that Israel is acting in self defence after the appalling act on October 7. But even if you take a different view to my view, to look at Israel - a democracy, a country with the rule of law, a country with armed forces that are committed to obeying the rule of law - to say that they have the intent to commit genocide, I think that is nonsense, I think that’s wrong.”
Phillips told him: “You can’t know that, you can only judge on the basis of what they’ve done.”
But Lord Cameron insisted that “to say there’s the intent to commit genocide, I do believe that’s wrong”.
#TrevorPhillips: Do you agree with the South Africans that Israel has a case to answer before the International Court of Justice?
David Cameron: "No, I absolutely don't.... it's nonsense.." #bbclaurakpic.twitter.com/m7ZpYGxmd1
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) January 14, 2024
South Africa has called for the emergency suspension of Israel’s aerial and ground offensive, claiming it was looking to induce “the destruction of the population” of Gaza.
But Israel has rejected these claims, accusing South Africa of playing “advocate of the devil” for Hamas. It says it is not targeting any civilians, but the militants.