The International Court of Justice orders Israel to stop the Rafah operation, so what is the next step? | Gaza News

The International Court of Justice orders Israel to stop the Rafah operation, so what is the next step?  |  Gaza News

The International Court of Justice issued a legally binding order for Israel to halt its invasion of Rafah.

The International Court of Justice called on Israel to end its operation in Rafah, the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip.

Over the past two weeks, Israel has reduced entire neighborhoods in Rafah to rubble and forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Israel says it needs to move to Rafah to complete its mission of defeating Hamas. However, the International Court of Justice ruled that Israel’s war aims effectively violated the rights of Palestinians under the Genocide Convention.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new orders of the International Court of Justice.

What is the ruling of the International Court of Justice in the case of South Africa v. Israel?

According to the court, Israel must stop its attack on Rafah.

The court was not convinced that Israel had taken adequate measures to protect civilian lives, and voted – by a majority of 13 judges to two – that Israel must take effective measures to enable any UN-backed investigative committee to enter Gaza and investigate allegations of genocide.

The court also affirmed its previous ruling on January 26 that Israel must increase its aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

“The ICJ is basically saying: OK, enough,” said Alonso Jormendi, a researcher in international law at King’s College London. “It’s so big…it’s [reflects] Loss of patience [with Israel] in my opinion.”

Director-General of South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation Zane Dangor and South African Ambassador to the Netherlands Vusimuzi Madonsela at the International Court of Justice as South Africa requests new emergency measures over the Israeli attacks on Rafah, The Hague, Netherlands, May 16, 2024. [Yves Herman/Reuters]

What is South Africa’s complaint against Israel?

South Africa initially submitted an urgent request to Israel to end its attack on Rafah, but then expanded its request for a complete ceasefire in Gaza.

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Will this stop the Israeli attack on Rafah?

Minutes after the ruling was issued, news emerged of Israeli air strikes on Rafah.

So far, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not made an official statement. But analysts believe that Israel will continue to violate the International Court of Justice order.

Legal scholars and analysts said that Israel had refused to comply with the previous interim measures of the International Court of Justice on January 26. The International Court of Justice had called on Israel to increase aid to protect the rights of Palestinians under the Genocide Convention.

Jormandi added that the new temporary measure doubles the pressure on Western countries that are arming Israel.

“How can selling weapons to Israel for use in Rafah be justified? I don’t think you can. “I think that is legally impossible.” “So while this [ICJ order] It will not stop the operation in Rafah itself, but rather increase pressure on the idea that it is acceptable to continue selling weapons to Israel.

What else did the International Court of Justice say?

Israel ordered the opening of the Rafah crossing to provide aid without obstacles.

“The thing is [legally] Binding to Israel. former [ICJ] Requests [to scale up aid] “We have already warned states that there is an imminent risk of genocide, so their duty – under the Genocide Convention – to prevent that has already been triggered,” said Heidi Matthews, a legal researcher at York University in Toronto.

“It is clear that some people will be disappointed that there is not a complete ceasefire order,” he added. “This is still a big step, but it is not a step for a complete ceasefire.”

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Is there a reaction from Palestine or from the Palestinian factions?

Hamas welcomed the rulings of the International Court of Justice. She said in a statement that Israel continues to commit massacres in the Gaza Strip. The group added that it expects the court to eventually issue an order for Israel to stop its war on the entire besieged Strip.

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

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

How did Israel respond?

The response of Israeli officials has been largely defiant.

Several officials repeated previous accusations that the court was aiding “terrorists.”

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich previously tweeted on

He warned that stopping the attack would mean that “the enemy will reach the beds of our children and women in all parts of the country.” He then tweeted: “History will judge those of Hamas and ISIS who sided with the Nazis [ISIL]”.

Will the International Court of Justice be able to implement Friday’s ruling?

They have no enforcement authority in the UN system. Implementation depends on court members adhering to their obligations under international law and the UN Security Council.

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How is this court hearing different from the last one?

The two sessions aim to ensure an end to the devastating war waged by Israel against Gaza. Experts told Al Jazeera that the new orders of the International Court of Justice intensify pressure on Israel and allied countries to protect the Palestinians and end its war on Gaza, which has claimed the lives of more than 35,000 people and made the Strip virtually uninhabitable.

Israeli Finance Minister and Religious Zionist Party leader Bezalel Smotrich.
Israeli Finance Minister and Religious Zionist Party leader Bezalel Smotrich [Gil Cohen Magen/AFP]

What then?

ICJ orders are legally binding. However, the court’s ruling will now be discussed in the UN Security Council, where countries can decide to take uniform action to implement the court’s orders. Security Council resolutions are also legally binding.

However, the United States has veto power, which it has historically used to protect Israel from the consequences of violating international law.

On April 18, the United States vetoed a draft resolution that would have made Palestine the 194th member of the United Nations.

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