Gaza: ICJ orders Israel to 'immediately halt' offensive in Rafah

The Hague-based court said the humanitarian situation in Rafah had "deteriorated further" and was classed as "disastrous"
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.50 24 May 2024

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Gaza: ICJ orders Israel to 'im...

Gaza: ICJ orders Israel to 'immediately halt' offensive in Rafah

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.50 24 May 2024

Share this article

The International Court of Justice has ordered Israel to stop its military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

The Hague-based court has said the humanitarian situation in Rafah had "deteriorated further" since its previous court order, adding the situation there was classed as "disastrous".

The order from the court is non-binding.


It comes after South Africa put in an emergency request to the ICJ for it to order Israel to stop its offensive in Rafah.

In January, the African nation formally accused Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians in a hearing at the United Nations court.

During opening arguments, a lawyer for South Africa said the latest war is part of decades of Israeli oppression.

Israel has vehemently denied the accusations.

ICJ President Judge Nawaf Salam outlined the court's findings on Friday.

"In conformity with obligations under the Genocide Convention, Israel must immediately halt its military offensive and any other action in the Rafah governate which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destructions in whole or in part," he said.

Arrest warrants

The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to both eliminate Hamas and get all the hostages back who were taken in the October 7th attacks.

The United States - Israel's most powerful ally - has threatened to scale back its support over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court - a separate court also based in The Hague - announced on Monday he had filed an application for arrest warrants against Mr Netanyahu, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant as well as leaders of Hamas.

Prosecutor Karim Khan accused Mr Netanyahu and Mr Gallant of crimes including extermination, using hunger as a weapon and deliberately attacking civilians. Israel strongly denied the charges.

Israel has signalled it will not comply with the latest ICJ order, which was adopted by a panel of 15 judges from around the world in a 13-2 vote, opposed only by judges from Uganda and Israel.

In response to the judgment, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said: "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. If we lay down our weapons, the enemy will reach the beds of our children and women throughout the country."

Palestine recognition

It comes just days after Ireland, Spain and Norway announced a joint intention to recognise the State of Palestine.

Taoiseach Simon Harris said the Government will take “whatever steps are necessary to give effect to that decision”.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said the recognition will formally take effect on May 28th.

The Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz subsequently took aim at the Taoiseach and Ireland on social media.

He posted a video of men with guns mixed with footage of Irish dancing and tagged Simon Harris adding: "Hamas thanks you for your service.”

Finance Minister Michael McGrath branded the video as “particularly distasteful.”

Additional reporting: IRN

Main image: International Court of Justice  (ICJ) President Judge Nawaf Salam reads out the order in The Hague, 24-5-24. Image: ICJ

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