The UN Supreme Court opens hearings on the Israeli military incursion into Rafah

The Hague (AFP) – The United Nations Supreme Court on Thursday opened two days of hearings to consider a request from South Africa to pressure Israel to stop its military operation in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, where more than half of Gaza’s population is seeking shelter.

This is the fourth time that South Africa has asked the International Court of Justice to take emergency measures since the country began proceedings alleging that Israeli military action in its war with Hamas in Gaza amounts to a threat. Genocide.

The President of the International Court of Justice, Nawaf Salam, said: “The session is open.”

According to the last requestHowever, previous preliminary orders issued by the court based in The Hague were insufficient to address a “brutal military attack on the only remaining refuge for the people of Gaza.”

Israel portrayed Rafah as the movement’s last stronghold, ignoring warnings from the United States and other allies that any major operation there would be disastrous for civilians.

South Africa asked the court to order Israel to withdraw from Rafah. Take the necessary measures to ensure unimpeded access to the Gaza Strip for United Nations officials, humanitarian organizations and journalists; And submit a report within one week on how these demands are met.

During hearings earlier this year, Israel strongly denied it Israel is committing genocide in Gaza and has said it does everything it can to spare civilians and only targets Hamas fighters. It says that Hamas’s tactic of positioning itself in civilian areas makes it difficult to avoid civilian casualties.

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In January, the judges ordered Israel to do everything in its power to prevent death, destruction and anything else Acts of genocide In Gaza, but the committee stopped short of issuing an order to end the military attack that led to the destruction of the Palestinian Strip.

In a second order issued in March, the court said Israel must take measures to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza, including opening more land crossings to allow the entry of food, water, fuel and other supplies.

Most of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been displaced since the fighting began.

The war began with a Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7, in which Palestinian militants killed about 1,200 people and took about 250 hostage. The Ministry of Health in Gaza says that more than 35,000 Palestinians were killed in the war, without distinguishing between civilians and combatants in its count.

South Africa initiated the proceedings in December 2023 and sees the legal campaign rooted in the issues Central to her identity. Its ruling party, the African National Congress, has long compared Israel’s policies in Gaza and the occupied West Bank to its history under the apartheid system of white minority rule, which confined most black people to their “homelands.” Apartheid ended in 1994.

Egypt announced on Sunday that it intends to join the case. The Foreign Ministry said that Israeli military actions “constitute a flagrant violation of international law, humanitarian law and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention for the Protection of Civilian Persons during War.”

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Several countries have also indicated that they plan to intervene, but so far only Libya, Nicaragua and Colombia have made formal requests to do so.

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