IICJ Orders Israel To Stop Rafah Invasion
The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the UN, holds public hearings on the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by South Africa in the case South Africa v. Israel on 11 and 12 January 2024, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court. Session held under the presidency of Judge Joan E. Donoghue, President of the Court. The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized UN organs and agencies.

ICJ Orders Israel To Stop Rafah Invasion Amid Mounting Pressure

3 weeks ago
1 min read

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nations’ highest court, issued an order on Friday directing Israel to cease its military activities in the southern Gaza city, Rafah, adding to the pressure being placed on Israel to stop the invasion of the Palestinian town both home and abroad.

This ruling follows an urgent plea from South Africa, which has accused Israel of genocidal activities in its ongoing onslaught on Gaza, launched in response to the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu had previously declared that the Rafah invasion would continue no matter what, saying: “I want to make one thing clear: no decision, neither in The Hague nor anywhere else, will harm our determination to achieve all the goals of the war.” Israel initiated its invasion of Rafah earlier this month, leading to the displacement of thousands of Palestinians. Rafah had become a sanctuary for nearly half of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents who had fled Israeli operations in other areas of Gaza.

READ ALSO: Gaza War: Israel Rebuilds Armored Forces, Halts Export Of IDF Tanks

Rafah is also a critical entry point for humanitarian aid into Gaza. International organisations have reported that the Israeli offensive has severely hampered aid delivery.

ICJ President Judge, Nawaf Salam, in announcing the court’s decision, noted the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza, describing it as “disastrous” with over 800,000 people displaced even though Israel had earlier promised to protect civilians in its quest to destroy the leadership of Hamas in the city.

Judge Salam stated that Israel must “immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” The court also ordered Israel to ensure the Rafah crossing into Egypt remains open to allow for the “unhindered provision at scale, urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance.”

This ruling is the third ICJ directive this year aimed at preventing Israel from committing war crimes in Gaza, none of which have been adhered to by the Israeli military due to the fact that the ICJ does not have the Police force to enforce its rulings. Israeli spokesperson Avi Hyman, on Thursday, ahead of the court’s decision, stated that: “No power on earth will stop Israel from protecting its citizens and going after Hamas in Gaza.”

The ICJ’s ruling amplifies international pressure on Israel to cease its invasion, which has resulted in the deaths of approximately 35,800 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. In a significant diplomatic move, Spain, Norway, and Ireland have declared their intentions to recognise the state of Palestine, impacting Israel’s support base in Europe.

Adding to the pressure, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan has sought arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders on charges of “war crimes and crimes against humanity” committed in Israel and the Gaza Strip.


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