The International Court of Justice orders Israel to halt Rafah operation

This is the first time the ICJ has gone so far as to explicitly order Israel to stop its military operation.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the top United Nations Court, has ordered Israel to halt its operation in Rafah, saying that there haven’t been sufficient provisions taken to protect Palestinian civilians.

This is the first time the ICJ has gone so far as to explicitly order Israel to stop its military operation.

ICJ’s president, Nawaf Salam, said that the conditions issued in March did not fully address the current situation and that a demand to halt the military operation was justified.

“Israel must immediately halt its military offensive” in Rafah, Salam said.

In addition, he claimed that the humanitarian situation in Gaza had deteriorated since the court last ordered Israel to take steps to prevent Palestinian deaths and suffering.

Israel opened the Kerem Shalom Crossing to transport humanitarian aid trucks; however, despite the increase in the flow of aid into Gaza, Hamas is attacking aid workers and stealing aid, according to a Palestinian Authority report.

Although the Biden Administration initially opposed Israel’s Rafah operation, it changed its tune with a report Wednesday that Israel had evacuated 950,000 of 1.4 million Palestinians from Rafah.

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A US official told reporters, “It’s fair to say that the Israelis have updated their plans. They’ve incorporated many of the concerns that we have expressed.”

The official also acknowledged that the Rafah operation may give Israel leverage and “opportunities for getting the hostage deal back on track.”

Israel has insisted that operating in Rafah is crucial to defeating Hamas since it still has four battalions located there.

South Africa brought the original case against Israel in the ICJ on the claim that the Palestinian’s inalienable right to protection was being violated by Israel during the Gaza war.

The ICJ is the United Nation’s highest court, and although its rulings are supposed to be binding, they are often ignored.

An ICJ ruling against Israel would be a diplomatic blow to the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, particularly in conjunction with ICC prosecutor Karim Khan seeking an arrest warrant against Netanyahu for alleged war crimes.

The US and several European leaders have condemned the ICC prosecutor’s request for an arrest warrant against Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, claiming that it creates a false moral equivalency of Israel and Hamas given that ICC arrest warrants are also being sought for Hamas leaders