Israel ordered to immediately halt Rafah offensive by top UN court

    WORLD  24 May 2024 - 19:12

    The International Court of Justice on May 24 ordered Israel to immediately halt its military operations in Rafah, the city in southern Gaza where more than 1 million Palestinians had sought refuge in dire conditions.

    According to NBC News, Israel is unlikely to comply with the order, which the top United Nations court has no power to enforce, but the landmark ruling will pile pressure on the increasingly isolated U.S. ally.

    Defying mounting international outrage over the humanitarian crisis in the enclave, the Israeli military has pressed ahead with the deadly offensive it launched in the wake of Hamas' Oct. 7 attacks. Talks for a cease-fire have stalled, despite pressure at home for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to secure the release of hostages still held in Gaza.

    The ICJ's order follows an urgent plea by South Africa as part of its ongoing case at the court, based in The Hague, Netherlands, accusing Israel of genocidal acts in its monthslong assault on Gaza, a charge both Israel and the United States have denied.

    The case will likely take years to resolve, but South Africa has sought interim orders to protect Palestinians.

    An Israeli official told NBC News earlier Friday that its government would study the ruling before making decisions, but would not accept a court order to end the war against Hamas.

    Friday's ruling comes just days after the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor applied for arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and others over alleged war crimes.

    The ICC can charge people with war crimes and other related charges. It is separate from the ICJ, which considers cases between states and has no real power to enforce its rulings. Russia, for example, ignored an order in 2022 to halt its war in Ukraine.

    Caliber.Az

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