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The International Court of Justice orders Israel to stop its attack on Rafah and Gaza in a new ruling |  News of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The International Court of Justice orders Israel to stop its attack on Rafah and Gaza in a new ruling | News of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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Judges of the United Nations Supreme Court ordered Israel to immediately halt its military attack on the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Judges of the United Nations Supreme Court ordered Israel to stop its attack on the city of Rafah in southern Gaza and withdraw from the Strip, in a case brought by South Africa accusing Israel of committing genocide, citing a “tremendous danger” to the Palestinian population.

Friday’s decision marks the third time this year that the 15-judge panel has issued preliminary orders seeking to curb the death toll and alleviate human suffering in Gaza. Although the orders are legally binding, the court has no police to enforce them.

Reading the ICJ ruling, court president Nawaf Salam said the temporary measures ordered by the court in March did not fully address the situation in the now besieged Palestinian enclave, and the conditions for a new state of emergency had been met. to request.

Salam said that Israel must “immediately stop its military attack and any other action in Rafah Governorate that would impose living conditions on the Palestinian group in Gaza that could lead to their complete or partial physical destruction.” The humanitarian situation in Rafah is “catastrophic”

South African lawyers asked the International Court of Justice in The Hague last week to impose emergency measures, saying Israeli attacks on Rafah must stop to ensure the survival of the Palestinian people.

Reporting from The Hague, Netherlands, Al Jazeera’s Stipe Vaessen said that 13 out of 15 ICJ judges agreed that the situation in Rafah is a red line and used words like “absolutely catastrophic” to describe the situation.

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The main judge said that 800,000 people were displaced, and that he did not believe Israel’s words about providing them with safety and the possibility of humanitarian aid reaching them. She indicated that there is no evidence of this.

“That is why the court has now issued a very strong order stating that Israel must immediately stop its offensive and military operation in Rafah and withdraw its forces from there. “It has also issued a ruling regarding the border crossings, that they must be reopened as soon as possible for the entry of humanitarian aid,” Weissen added. The judge also stressed the need for UN observers to arrive as soon as possible to ensure that no evidence of any possible war crimes disappears from the area.

The International Court of Justice also ordered Israel to submit a report to the court within one month on the progress it has made in implementing the measures ordered by the institution.

Israel launched its attack on the southern city of Rafah this month, forcing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to flee the city, which has become a refuge for about half of its population of 2.3 million people.

Rafah, on the southern tip of Gaza, was also the main route for aid, and international organizations say the Israeli operation isolated the Strip and increased the risk of famine.

Al Jazeera’s Hind Al-Khudari said in a report from Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza that people in the Gaza Strip have not yet interacted with the International Court of Justice ruling because many of them do not have internet access.

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“People here in the Gaza Strip are currently trying to feed themselves… after their ongoing displacement. So people are not well aware of what is happening. They are asking journalists… if there is anything positive,” she said.

Al-Khudari added that, as journalists in Gaza, they do not want to give people in the region false hope and are waiting to hear more information about how the International Court of Justice ruling will be implemented in Rafah, where the situation remains tense.

The Palestinian Authority welcomed the decision of the International Court of Justice on Friday, saying that it represents an international consensus to end the war on the Gaza Strip, Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told Reuters news agency.

Shortly after the ruling was issued, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said He said On the social media platform X, “the State of Israel is at war for its existence.”

“Those who demand that the State of Israel stop the war are demanding that it end its existence itself. “We will not agree to that,” he said.

“We continue to fight for ourselves and for the entire free world. History will judge who today sided with the Nazis, Hamas and ISIS,” he added.

Imran Khan, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Amman, Jordan, said that diplomatic sources informed Israeli Channel 13 that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will hold an emergency meeting.

The meeting will be attended by Foreign Minister Israel Katz, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, and the government’s legal advisor. “That’s how seriously they are taking this ruling,” Khan said.

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He added: “We hear from political sources speaking to local media that Israel will not respond to the court’s decision, whether politically or militarily.”

Members of the South African legal team (left) attend a hearing at the International Court of Justice as part of South Africa’s application for a Gaza ceasefire in The Hague [Nick Gammon / AFP]

The International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, is the highest body of the United Nations to adjudicate disputes between countries. Its rulings are final and binding but have been ignored in the past. The court does not have executive powers.

In a strongly worded ruling in January, the court ordered Israel to do everything in its power to prevent genocide in Gaza, but stopped short of ordering a halt to the fighting.

Israel has repeatedly rejected the case’s accusations of genocide as baseless, and argued in court that its operations in Gaza are self-defense and target Hamas fighters who attacked Israel on October 7.