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UN Court Orders Israel to Halt Rafah Offensive Amid Genocide Accusations

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The UN International Court of Justice has ordered Israel to cease its offensive in Rafah, citing potential genocide. This ruling intensifies diplomatic tension as humanitarian aid struggles to enter Gaza amid ongoing violence.

UN Court Orders Israel to Halt Rafah Offensive Amid Genocide Accusations

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestine, Francesca Albanese, has emphasized that Israel will not halt its aggression in Rafah, located in southern Gaza, without international community intervention. According to Albanese, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Israel to cease its military action, yet attacks have intensified.

This week's decision by the ICJ, prompted by South Africa’s lawsuit accusing Israel of genocide in the Gaza Strip, mandates Israel to immediately stop its assault on Rafah. Lebanese Judge Nawaf Salam, reading the court's order, highlighted that any further aggression could lead to 'partial or total destruction' under the Genocide Convention.

Israel has refuted these genocide allegations as 'false and outrageous.' Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promptly called a high-level meeting with his security team to discuss the implications of the ICJ ruling. However, Israel's Foreign Ministry maintains that their operations are not targeting civilians and will not result in their mass destruction.

Humanitarian concerns remain at the forefront as the ICJ's decision mandates Israel to reopen the Rafah border crossing with Egypt to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid. Also, Israel is required to permit access to international investigators examining allegations of genocide. Failure to comply within one month will lead to further scrutiny, although the ICJ lacks direct coercive power.

South Africa, celebrating what it considers a 'pioneering' ruling, urged the United Nations Security Council to implement the ICJ's measures. Meanwhile, Hamas has welcomed the court's decision but called for its extension to the entire Gaza Strip, insisting that northern regions also suffer brutal occupation.

Diplomatically, the ruling strains relations as European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, indicated that the EU must choose between supporting international law or aligning with Israel. The geopolitical tension continues to mount, with Yemen's Houthi insurgency claiming attacks on ships linked to Israel as part of their solidarity with Palestinians.

  • The United States and Egypt have agreed to channel humanitarian aid through the Kerem Shalom border crossing until Rafah is reopened. This agreement came after a telephone conversation between U.S. President Joe Biden and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Biden expressed full support for reopening Rafah under mutually acceptable terms for Egypt and Israel while discussing potential initiatives to ensure the release of hostages in Gaza.
  • Israeli opposition parties also criticized the government’s handling of the situation. Former Prime Minister Yair Lapid called the ICJ’s decision a 'moral collapse,' suggesting that proper governance could have avoided such international condemnation. On the other hand, far-right leaders advocated for increased military pressure and occupation of Rafah.
Daily Reports
Refs: | EL PAÍS | Aljazeera |

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