UN's Top Court Orders Israel To 'Immediately Halt' Rafah Offensive

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, May 24, 2024 - 03:20 PM

The top United Nations court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), has on Friday issued an emergency order for Israel to halt its military operations in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

"Israel must immediately halt its military offensive," judges at the ICJ, or world court (which deals with disputes between countries, while the ICC prosecutes individuals) said, saying conditions had been met to issue a new emergency order.

Judge Nawaf Salam, president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), via Reuters.

Israel must further halt "any other action in the Rafah Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part," according to the ruling issued by the body's president Nawaf Salam. He also called the situation 'disastrous' for the Palestinians.

Now weeks into the offensive, at least 800,000 people have fled Rafah, which prior to the assault had some 1.2 million to 1.5 million mostly displaced Gazans packed into its environs.

The request for such an emergency ICJ declaration originated last week when South Africa's lawyers asked the Hague to intervene to ensure the survival of the Palestinian people.

South Africa has also led the charge in bringing the International Criminal Court (ICC) case against Israel's leaders, which has resulted in an arrest warrant for Netanyahu and his defense minister Yoav Gallant.

As for the ICJ's "order" - it is of course largely symbolic and the UN top court has no enforcement capability. But it serves to pile the pressure on Tel Aviv at a moment its international standing and reputation has taken a serious hit. The court invoked the 'Genocide Convention' in issuing its ruling.

An Israeli government spokesperson has responded to the ICJ's action by stating that "no power on Earth will stop Israel from protecting its citizens and going after Hamas in Gaza."

And finance minister Bezalel Smotrich quickly said on X that "the State of Israel is at war for its existence." He stated, "Those who demand that the State of Israel stop the war, demand that it decree itself to cease to exist. We will not agree to that."

"We continue to fight for ourselves and for the entire free world. History will judge who today stood by the Nazis of Hamas and ISIS," he added.

Israel has been seeking to claw back the growing international criticism. This week it released new shocking footage of several female IDF soldiers being abducted from a base near the Gaza border on Oct.7.