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ICJ rules Israel to stop Rafah operation, what happens next? | Gaza News

ICJ rules Israel to stop Rafah operation, what happens next?  |  Gaza News


The International Court of Justice called on Israel to end its operation in Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza.

Over the past two weeks, Israel has destroyed entire neighborhoods in Rafah and forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Israel says it must go to Rafah to complete its mission to defeat Hamas. However, the ICJ ruled that Israel's war aims effectively violated Palestinians' rights under the Genocide Convention.

Here's everything you need to know about the new ICJ orders.

What was the decision of the ICJ in the case of South Africa v. Israel?

According to the court, Israel must stop its offensive in Rafah.

The court was not convinced that Israel had taken sufficient measures to protect civilian lives and voted 13 judges to two that Israel must take effective measures to enable any UN-backed commission of inquiry to enter Gaza and investigate accusations of genocide.

The court also reaffirmed its earlier January 26 ruling that Israel should increase aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

The ICJ is basically saying: OK, enough, said Alonso Gurmendi, a scholar of international law at Kings College, London. It is a very important order [reflects] a loss of patience [with Israel] in my opinion.

South Africa to the World Court to secure more urgent measures.
South Africa's Department of International Relations and Cooperation Director General Zane Dangor and South Africa's ambassador to the Netherlands Vusimuzi Madonsela at the ICJ where South Africa seeks urgent new measures over Israel's attacks in Rafah, The Hague, Netherlands, May 16 2024 [Yves Herman/Reuters]

What was South Africa's complaint against Israel?

South Africa initially made an urgent demand for Israel to end its offensive in Rafah, but later expanded its demand for a full ceasefire in Gaza.

Will this stop the Israeli attack on Rafah?

Minutes after the decision was made, reports emerged of Israeli airstrikes in Rafah.

At the moment, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not made an official statement. But analysts believe Israel will continue to violate the ICJ order.

Legal scholars and analysts said Israel refused to comply with the ICJ's previous interim measures on January 26. The ICJ had called on Israel to increase aid to protect the rights of Palestinians under the genocide convention.

Gurmendi added that the new temporary measure increases the pressure on Western countries arming Israel.

How can you justify selling arms to Israel for use in Rafah? I don't think you can. I think it is legally impossible, he said. So while this [ICJ order] won't stop the Rafah operation itself, it builds pressure on the idea that it's okay to just keep selling arms to Israel.

What else did the ICJ say?

He ordered Israel to open the Rafah crossing for the unimpeded delivery of aid.

The order is [legally] binding on Israel. Previous [ICJ] ORDER [to scale up aid] have already put states on notice that there is an imminent danger of genocide and therefore their duty under the genocide convention to prevent it has already been triggered, said Heidi Matthews, a legal scholar at York University in Toronto.

Of course, some people will be disappointed that there was not a full cease-fire order. It's still a big move, but it's not a complete ceasefire, she added.

Any reaction from Palestine or Palestinian groups?

Hamas welcomed the decisions of the ICJ. She said in a statement that Israel continues to carry out massacres in the Gaza Strip. The group added that it expects the court to eventually issue an order for Israel to halt its war in the entire encircled belt.

What is happening in Jabalia and other Belt governments is no less criminal and dangerous than what is happening in Rafah.

We call on the international community and the United Nations to put pressure on the occupation to immediately implement this decision and to proceed seriously and sincerely in the translation of all UN resolutions that compel the occupying Zionist army to stop the genocide it is committing against our people for more. than seven months.

How did Israel respond?

The response from Israeli officials has been largely defiant.

Many officials repeated earlier accusations that the court was aiding terrorists.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that Israel was in a fight for its existence, adding that stopping the occupation of Rafah was akin to demanding that Israel cease to exist.

He warned that stopping the attack would mean the enemy would reach the beds of our children and women across the country. He then tweeted that history will judge who stood by the Nazis of Hamas and ISIS [ISIL].

Will the ICJ be able to implement Friday's decision?

They have no enforcement powers in the UN system. Implementation relies on members of the court to comply with their obligations under international law and the UN Security Council.

How does this court session differ from the last one?

Both sessions aimed to secure an end to Israel's devastating war in Gaza. Experts told Al Jazeera that the new ICJ orders intensify pressure on Israel and allied states to protect Palestinians and end its war in Gaza, which has killed more than 35,000 people and has rendered the enclave effectively uninhabitable.

Israel's Minister of Finance and leader of the Religious Zionist Party Bezalel Smotrich.
Israel's Minister of Finance and leader of the Religious Zionist Party Bezalel Smotrich [Gil Cohen Magen/AFP]

What is expected next?

The orders of the ICJ are legally binding. However, the courts' decision will now be discussed at the UN Security Council, where states may decide to take joint action to implement the courts' orders. Security Council resolutions are also legally binding.

However, the US has a veto, which it has historically used to protect Israel from the consequences of violating international law.

On April 18, the US vetoed a proposed resolution that would have made Palestine the 194th member of the UN.




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