ICJ orders Israel to stop Gaza offensive

  • The UN’s top court orders Israel to “immediately” halt its military assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafa, calls humanitarian situation “disastrous.”
  • More than 900,000 Palestinians have been displaced by fighting in just two weeks and now lack shelter, food, water and medicine.

    Yemen’s Houthis claim attacks on three ships

    The spokesman of the Yemeni group’s military tells large numbers of demonstrators at this week’s rallies in the capital, Sanaa, that the Houthis have attacked three vessels, without saying when exactly the attacks took place.

    Yahya Saree said several ballistic missiles were launched at “Israeli ship” MSC Alexandra in the Arabian Sea, adding that a second operation was carried out against Greek ship Yannis as it was passing through the Red Sea.

    The Houthis also claimed a third operation, using missiles, which targeted “Israeli ship” Essex in the Mediterranean Sea.

    Water distribution strained in al-Mawasi: UNRWA

    Although the al-Mawasi area in Gaza is serving as a declared evacuation zone for those forced to flee Rafah, aid workers are struggling to provide the most basic supplies, such as water, to the growing number of its inhabitants, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

    Water distribution is complicated, UNRWA says, because there are not enough tankers to meet people’s needs and the only water source is in a remote area, far from people’s shelters.

    In addition, with waste piling up and no safe landfill in the area, it is becoming more difficult to dispose of about 40 tonnes of rubbish accumulating daily, the agency said.

    ICJ ruling ‘underlines gravity of the situation in Gaza’: HRW

    The Human Rights Watch says the ICJ rulings show how bad things are in Gaza.

    “The International Court of Justice’s order underlines the gravity of the situation facing Palestinians in Gaza,” said Balkees Jarrah from the US-based international rights group.

    “This decision opens up the possibility for relief, but only of governments use their leverage to press Israel to urgently enforce the court’s measures.”

    What you need to know about the ICJ ruling

    Here are the main elements of the ruling and the key reactions to it:

    • The ICJ’s ruling orders Israel to immediately halt its offensive in Rafah in southern Gaza.
    • The court calls on Israel to allow international investigators to enter the enclave to conduct inquiries.
    • It also orders the Rafah crossing to be opened for unhindered provision of basic services and humanitarian aid.
    • The ICJ asks Israel to report back to the court within one month on its progress in applying measures ordered by it.
    • Hamas has welcomed the ICJ ruling and called on the international community to pressure Israel to implement the decision.
    • Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has said stopping the war meant Israel would cease to exist, adding that the country will not agree to it.
    • Prime Minister Netanyahu is expected to meet shortly with his key ministers about the ICJ ruling.

      Rafah fighting will go on until captives return home: Israeli minister

      Israeli Minister of Culture and Sports Miki Zohar has said the only way to save the Israeli captives in Gaza is by putting pressure on Hamas.

      Responding to the ICJ ruling on Israel’s war in Gaza, he said on X: “Judges of the High Court in The Hague are invited to come to Gaza and convince Hamas to return our abductees home.”

      “Until this happens, it is clear that there is no possibility of stopping the fighting in Rafah,” he also said.

      “The cessation of hostilities will be a spit in the face of the abductees who go through hell and hell every day when the only way to save them is only by putting pressure on Hamas,” he added.

      Israel’s Lapid calls ICJ ruling ‘a moral disaster’

      Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid has condemned the ICJ for not making a connection between the cessation of fighting in Rafah and the return of the abductees and Israel’s right to defend itself in its ruling on Israel’s war in Gaza.

      He called the judgement “a moral collapse and a moral disaster”.

      He said, “It is Israel that was brutally attacked from Gaza and had to defend itself against a horrible terrorist organisation that murdered children, raped women and still fires rockets at innocent civilians.”

      Human suffering in Gaza must stop: Belgium’s Lahbib

      Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib has welcomed the ICJ ruling that called for Israel to stop its military offensive in Rafah, urging immediate implementation of the decision.

      She said on X: “The violence and human suffering in Gaza must stop. We call for a ceasefire, the release of the hostages and negotiations for two states.”

      Hamas welcomes ICJ ruling, but wants halt order for all of Gaza

      The Palestinian group says in a statement that it welcomes the ICJ rulings as the Israeli army continues to commit “massacres” in the Gaza Strip.

      But Hamas said it expected the court to issue an order for Israel to stop its military operations throughout the besieged enclave, not just in Rafah.

      “What is happening in Jabalia and other governorates of the Strip is no less criminal and dangerous than what is happening in Rafah.”

      “We call on the international community and the United Nations to pressure the occupation to immediately comply with this decision and to seriously and genuinely proceed in translating all UN resolutions that force the Zionist occupation army to stop the genocide it has been committing against our people for more than seven months.”

      WATCH: ICJ rules Israel must ‘immediately halt’ offensive in Rafah

      The International Court of Justice has ruled that Israel must immediately halt its offensive in Rafah and allow unimpeded access to investigate allegations of genocide.

      ICJ and ICC moves deal ‘one-two legal punch’ to Israel

      The ICJ has stepped up to confront the reality of the escalation in the Gaza Strip, according to war crimes prosecutor Reed Brody.

      “These are very specific orders; stop the offensive on Rafah, open the border crossing, allow in the fact-finding missions. There’s not a lot of wiggle room here,” he told Al Jazeera.

      “I’m really impressed, first of all by South Africa’s tenacity and perseverance and coming back to the court. And the court has responded almost unanimously, including all of the Western judges, who have really been as radical as reality.”

      Brody said South Africa has been asking since the start of the war on Gaza for an order for Israel to stop its military offensive, with the court saying it cannot make a move because Hamas and the Palestinian side is not present on the stand.

      “But that’s what they have finally chosen to do here and it’s a testament to this court and what it does. Together with the decision by the ICC prosecutor [to recommend arrest warrants against top Israeli officials], it is a real one-two legal punch.”

      PM Netanyahu to convene emergency meeting with key ministers

      Diplomatic sources told Israel’s Channel 13 that Prime Minister Netanyahu will convene an emergency meeting.

      Foreign Minister Israel Katz, war cabinet minister Benny Gantz and the government’s judicial adviser will be in the meeting.

      This is how seriously they are taking this ruling.

      The first reaction to the ruling came from Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, one of the far-right members of the coalition.

      He said that 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,” he said.

      He added: “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 [ISIL].”

      We are hearing from political sources speaking to local media that Israel will not respond to the decision of the court, either politically or militarily.

      It is already holding under-the-table talks with the US for it to veto the resolution at the UN Security Council.

      South Africa welcomes ‘stronger’ ICJ order on Israel

      South Africa has welcomed the International Court of Justice order that Israel halt its offensive in the Gaza city of Rafah, and urged UN member states to back it.

      “I believe it’s a much stronger, in terms of wording, set of provisional measures, very clear call for a cessation,” Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor told public broadcaster SABC.

      ICJ said it saw no evidence of adequate humanitarian access for Palestinians

      Thirteen of the 15 ICJ judges agreed that the situation in Rafah is a red line. Words like “exceptionally dire” were used to describe the situation.

      The main judge said 800,000 are displaced, and that he doesn’t believe Israel’s word that they are provided safety and humanitarian access. He said there was no evidence of that.

      That’s why the court has now made a very strong order that Israel should immediately stop its offensive and military operation in Rafah and withdraw its troops from there. He also made a ruling on border crossings, that they must be reopened as soon as possible to get humanitarian aid in.

      Interestingly, he said that observers from the United Nations have to get access as soon as possible to prevent evidence of any possible war crimes from disappearing.

      Conditions have been met for new emergency measures: ICJ

      The ICJ has said that the current situation entails further risks to irreparable damage to the rights of the people in Gaza.

      It added that conditions have been met for new emergency measures in Israel’s genocide case.

      ICJ asks Israel to report to the court in a month

      The ICJ has ordered Israel to report back to the court within one month about its progress in applying measures ordered by the institution.

      It has also ordered Israel to open the Rafah border crossing for humanitarian assistance.

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