ICJ orders immediate cessation of Israeli military operations in Rafah



Fri, 24 May 2024 - 02:50 GMT


Fri, 24 May 2024 - 02:50 GMT

UN’s ICJ calls for prevention of genocidal acts in Gaza, January 26, 2024 - UN

UN’s ICJ calls for prevention of genocidal acts in Gaza, January 26, 2024 - UN

CAIRO – 24 May 2024: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Israel to immediately halt its military operation in Rafah, in response to an urgent request by South Africa.

The ICJ ruling mandates Israel to open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza to facilitate the delivery of aid.

This latest ruling adds to the mounting global pressure on Israel to cease the conflict in Gaza, including concerns expressed by its close ally, the United States, regarding a large-scale military operation in Rafah city.

On 7 May, Israel deployed ground forces to Rafah, seizing control of the Rafah border crossing from the Palestinian side and launching unrelenting attacks.

The Israeli operation in Rafah, which faced global condemnation, has killed dozens of Palestinians and endangered the lives of hundreds of thousands of people seeking refuge in the city.

Over the past three weeks, evacuation orders issued by Israel have compelled about one million Palestinians in Rafah to flee the city out of fear for their safety.

Israel also faces increasing legal pressure, including a request made on Monday by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The warrant requests are based on allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Gaza.

Several countries, including Egypt, have announced their intervention in support of South Africa's case before the ICJ, which accuses Israel of perpetrating acts of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

In January, ICJ judges ordered Israel to take measures to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza, dealing a blow to Israel's claim that it has been engaging in the war in Gaza as an exercise of its "self-defense right."

The Israeli attacks in Rafah city over the past few weeks have resulted in the blockage of the Rafah crossing, which serves as the primary entry point for humanitarian aid to Gaza, exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation in the strip.

In response to the anticipated ICJ order, the Israeli government stated on Thursday that "No power on earth will stop Israel from protecting its citizens and pursuing Hamas in Gaza."

The war in Gaza has led to one of the most severe humanitarian crises globally, with a significant number of the population displaced, infrastructure damaged, and the strip on the brink of famine.

Over more than seven months, the Israeli war has claimed the lives of over 35,000 Palestinians and injured more than 79,000 others.

The Israeli attacks are in retaliation for a Hamas operation on 7 October, during which the movement’s fighters breached the border with Israel and took about 250 people hostage.

In November, thanks to a prisoner swap agreement facilitated by Egypt, Qatar, and the United States, Hamas released 105 civilian hostages in exchange for more than double that number of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

Amid the Israeli war in Gaza over the past months, several hostages have been killed.

Efforts to achieve a ceasefire and implement another prisoner swap have stalled in the past three weeks in light of the Israeli operations in Rafah.

Israel rejected a proposal for ceasefire, which was put forward by Egyptian and Qatari mediators, and was accepted by Hamas on May 6.

This has instilled fear among the Israeli public that time may be running out for the hostages, resulting in widespread protests in Israeli streets, including by the families of the victims, putting additional pressure on the Israeli government.

The war in Gaza has also brought the Palestinian cause into the international spotlight like never before, with three European countries, namely Norway, Ireland, and Spain, announcing their intention to recognize the state of Palestine.

Diaa Rashwan, the head of the State Information Service (SIS), has cautioned that an operation in Rafah will not succeed in bringing Israeli captives back home alive and could jeopardize the 1979 peace treaty with Israel.



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