The top UN court ordered Israel to cease its military operations

The War in Gaza: Israel and the U.N. Case for a New Resolution of the International Court of Justice in The Hague and the Security Council

Last week, as part of its defense at the U.N.’s International Court of Justice in The Hague, Israel characterized its military operation in Rafah, which lies on Gaza’s border with Egypt, as “limited and localized.” It argued that the court’s judges should not restrict Israel’s actions in Gaza. Lawyers for South Africa argued that Israel’s Rafah offensive was “the last step in the destruction of Gaza and the Palestinian people.”

Israel has accused South Africa of acting as a legal arm of Hamas by filing a case in the International Court of Justice in The Netherlands, and it doesn’t believe it will be bound by rulings.

Israel’s military this week is fighting in the neighborhoods of central Rafah, expanding its campaign against Hamas in an operation that began on May 6, when the military said it was carrying out a “limited operation” against Hamas battalions in the city, “making every effort to prevent harm to civilians.”

Since the offensive began, around 900,000 Palestinians have left the area. Before Israel’s current military offensive, an estimated 1.3 million Palestinians displaced from elsewhere in Gaza were sheltering there.

One concern among Israel’s leadership is that an injunction from the ICJ could precipitate a similar resolution by the U.N. Security Council, where Israel would rely on the United States to veto such a measure.

Khan is seeking warrants for Sinwar, Deif and Haniyeh on charges that include crimes against humanity including extermination, murder and sexual violence. He wants to charge both Netanyahu and Gallant with war crime for “starvation as a weapon of warfare,” marking the first time this charge would be used in international courts.

Daniel and Rob were both from Tel Aviv. Anas Baba was the person who contributed to this story. The Hague had contributions from Abu Bakr Bashir. Hadeel Al-Shalchi contributed in Tel Aviv.

That possibility was echoed after the court ruling by Josep Borrell, the top diplomat for the European Union, who asked what position the EU would now take toward Israel. ”We will have to choose,” he said, “between our support to international institutions of the rule of law or our support to Israel.”

The Israeli court of justice in the Hague condemned by protests against Israel and the invasion of Israel by the Hamas-ISIS regime

In protest, Egypt has halted shipments of aid through its border with Gaza. The U.N. stopped distributing food in Rafah on May 21 due to lack of supplies and reported a surge in diseases from the mass displacement due to a lack of basic supplies.

Outside the courtroom in the Hague, pro-Palestinian demonstrators told NPR they were disappointed with the court’s decision because it stopped short of calling for a total end to Israel’s Gaza offensive.

“Netanyahu will not respect anyone,” said Abu Issa, who is sheltering in the ruins of a damaged school in the decimated city of Khan Younis. “He doesn’t respect the U.S. or the decisions of the court. Netanyahu doesn’t care about anyone, and that’s why the decisions are all empty words.”

The court’s ruling was condemned by Israeli political leaders. Far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said, “History will judge who today stood by the Nazis of Hamas and ISIS.”

The court decision not to order Hamas to release Israeli hostages was called amoral disaster by the leader of the opposition.

An hour after the court ruling, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a phone meeting to consult Israel’s top legal official and senior government ministers and officials, Netanyahu’s office said.

The Israeli government said it planned to continue with its offensive in Gaza in a way that complied with its interpretation of the ruling.

Reading out the court’s ruling from the bench of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Court President Nawaf Salam noted that provisional measures ordered by the court earlier this year have not fully addressed the situation in Gaza and that conditions, particularly in Rafah, have deteriorated further.

According to a report from the United Nations International Children’s Fund, about half of the 1.2 million Palestinians who live in Rafah are children, and Salam warned that a military operation there would cause most of the basic services to be destroyed.

The court ruling left enough uncertainty to allow Israel to continue its offensive in the area, according to a senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute.

The 15-judge panel has issued preliminary orders to rein in the death toll three times this year, in order to create pathways for more humanitarian aid in Gaza.

The Times of Israel: The Pressure of the Confrontation with the Palestinians in a Century of Security and Security Concerning Israel’s Solution to the Gaza Crisis

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The level of isolation is not the same as it was in North Korea or other countries, said Alon Pinkas, Israel’s former Consul General in New York. “It creates a tremendous sense of pressure.”

The order came the same week that three European countries took the coordinated step of recognizing Palestine as a state. It also followed widespread university campus protests in the United States against Israel’s campaign in Gaza, as well as decisions by Turkey to suspend trade with Israel and by Belize, Bolivia and Colombia to break diplomatic ties with Israel.

In 2011, a former Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, warned that Israel faced a “diplomatic-political tsunami” of censure if its conflict with the Palestinians went unresolved, as peace talks faltered and revolution spread across the Middle East.

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