Thu 16 May 2024 4:55 pm - Jerusalem Time

ICJ begins considering South Africa's request to ensure that Israel stops its military operations in Rafah

Today, Thursday, the United Nations International Court of Justice began two-day hearings to consider South Africa’s request to ensure that Israel halts its military operation in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, where more than half of Gaza’s population has sought safe refuge.

The court, based in The Hague, will hear lawyers representing South Africa and Israel’s response tomorrow, Friday, according to a statement issued by this body.

South Africa had asked the court to urge Israel to immediately withdraw its forces and stop its military attack in the Rafah area, and to immediately take all effective measures to ensure unimpeded humanitarian access to Gaza.

It also asked the court to issue an order to Israel to allow UN officials and organizations providing humanitarian aid, as well as journalists and investigators, to enter the Strip without hindrance.

It added that Israel has so far been ignoring and violating the orders previously issued by the court.

In January, the International Court of Justice called on Israel to avoid any act that would lead to genocide, and to facilitate humanitarian access to Gaza.

A few weeks later, South Africa requested new measures, pointing to Israel's announcement of its intention to launch an attack on Rafah, but the court rejected this request.

At the beginning of March, South Africa again asked the court to impose new emergency measures on Israel. In the same month, the court ordered Israel to ensure the arrival of “urgent humanitarian aid” to Gaza in light of “a famine that has begun to spread” in the besieged Strip.

Recently, countries including Libya, Egypt, and Turkey announced their intention to formally intervene to support South Africa’s lawsuit in the “genocide” case filed against Israel in the International Court of Justice due to its ongoing war on the Gaza Strip.

The International Court of Justice hearings come within the framework of an ongoing case in which Israel is also accused of committing acts of genocide against our people.

It should be noted that the rulings and orders of the International Court of Justice are binding and cannot be appealed. Although the court has no way to enforce its rulings, issuing an order against a country may harm its reputation on the international stage and set a legal precedent.

On the sixth of this month, the occupation forces began a military operation in the city of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, and called on citizens and those displaced to the eastern areas of the city (Al-Shoka, Al-Salam neighborhoods, Al-Jeneina, and Tabba Zaraa) to go to the city of Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip.

On the 5th of May, the occupation forces completely closed the Kerem Shalom crossing, southeast of the city of Rafah, and prevented the entry of humanitarian and medical aid. On the 7th of the same month, the occupation forces occupied the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing, and stopped the flow of aid into the Gaza Strip. Both crossings are still closed to this day.

Since the beginning of the aggression on the Gaza Strip, the city of Rafah has witnessed a large displacement movement of citizens from various cities in the Strip, as the number of citizens there reached about 1.5 million, and with the start of the military operation in Rafah, 600,000 of them were forced to flee again to other areas.

The Israeli forces have continued their aggression against the Gaza Strip since October 7, resulting in the death of 35,233 citizens and the injury of 79,141 others.


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ICJ begins considering South Africa's request to ensure that Israel stops its military operations in Rafah