International Court of Justice orders Israel to halt assault on Gaza's Rafah

International Court of Justice orders Israel to halt assault on Gaza's Rafah

International Court of Justice has ordered Israel to stop its military assault on Rafah, following allegations of genocide. Israel denies the claims, stating its actions are in self-defense against Hamas.

ICJ Halts Israel's Rafah Assault ICJ Halts Israel's Rafah Assault

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has mandated Israel to immediately cease its military assault on Rafah, a southern city in Gaza, citing a new emergency order as necessary to address the current situation. This decision was announced on Friday by ICJ President Nawaf Salam, indicating that prior provisional measures from March were insufficient given the evolving conditions in Gaza.

The court's ruling supports a request from South Africa, made a week prior, which sought to halt Israel's offensive in Rafah amid accusations of genocide. Outside the court, a small group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators showed support, waving flags and playing music calling for a free Palestine.

Israel has dismissed the genocide allegations as baseless, maintaining that its operations are in self-defense and targeted at Hamas militants responsible for an attack on Israel on October 7. An Israeli government spokesperson stated that Israel's actions are aimed at protecting its citizens and will continue despite the ICJ's ruling.

The assault on Rafah, initiated this month, has led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Rafah has served as a critical entry point for aid and a refuge for many in Gaza, which has a population of approximately 2.3 million. International organizations warn that the Israeli operation has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis, cutting off Gaza and increasing the risk of famine.

South Africa’s legal representatives argued that the attacks on Rafah threatened the survival of the Palestinian people, prompting their request for immediate intervention from the ICJ. While the court’s rulings are final and binding, enforcement remains a challenge as the ICJ lacks the power to compel compliance.

This recent emergency order follows previous ICJ rulings that directed Israel to prevent acts of genocide and ensure aid delivery into Gaza, without explicitly halting military operations. The broader case brought by South Africa, accusing Israel of state-led genocide, remains unresolved and could take years to adjudicate fully.

Edited By: Puja Mahanta
Published On: May 24, 2024