The International Court of Justice, the top United Nations court, has ordered
Israel to halt its offensive in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah.


The International Court of Justice, the top United Nations court, has ordered
Israel to halt it's offensive in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah.  Israel must
"immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah
Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of
life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part," the
ICJ said on Friday.  In early May, Israel carried out ground incursions into
the refugee-packed city of Rafah in defiance of global warnings, forcing more
than 800,000 people “to flee”, according to UN figures.The ICJ, widely known as
the world court, also ordered the Israeli regime to open the Rafah crossing to
ensure the "unhindered" access of humanitarian aid.  Israel must "maintain open
the Rafah crossing for unhindered provision at scale of urgently needed basic
services and humanitarian assistance," the court added in the landmark ruling.
The ruling came as South Africa last week asked the ICJ to order a halt to the
war in Gaza, and in Rafah in particular.  South Africa filed a genocide case
against Israel in December 2023 over its war on the Gaza Strip.  According to
South Africa’s application, Israel's actions in Gaza were "genocidal in
character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a
substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnic group."

The ICJ’s final ruling on the broader South African case may take months if not
years to rule, but the court can order urgent measures while weighing its
decision.  In January, the ICJ, whose orders are legally binding but lack
direct enforcement mechanisms, issued an interim ruling, ordering the occupying
regime to take all measures to prevent genocide in Gaza, but stopped short of
ordering a ceasefire.  On March 6, South Africa returned to the court,
requesting additional provisional measures against Israel in light of reports
of widespread starvation.  Later in March, the court ordered Israel to take
"all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay, in full
cooperation with the United Nations, the unhindered provision at scale by all
concerned of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance.”
Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian resistance
movement Hamas waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying
entity in response to the Israeli regime's decades-long campaign of
bloodletting and devastation against Palestinians.  Tel Aviv has also blocked
water, food, and electricity to Gaza, plunging the coastal strip into a
humanitarian crisis.  Since the start of the offensive, the Tel Aviv regime has
killed at least 35,800 Palestinians and injured 80,200 more.  The ICJ ruling
comes hot on the heels of another highly charged decision Monday by the
International Criminal Court prosecutor who requested arrest warrants to be
issued against Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the regime’s
minister of military affairs Yoav Gallant on charges of “war crimes” and
“crimes against humanity”.