The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Israel to take steps to prevent genocide in Gaza. At the same time, it has been ordered to take measures to improve the humanitarian situation in the valley devastated by indiscriminate attacks.
Today Friday in the city of The Hague in the Netherlands, following the instructions of the ICZ, the Palestinian independence organization Hamas welcomed it. The organization said the ICZ ruling was an important step forward in isolating Israel and highlighting the crimes committed by Israeli forces in Gaza.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki also welcomed the ICZ order. On Friday, he said, “The judges of the ICJ (of Gaza) have made a correct assessment of the real picture and the law.” They ruled in favor of humanity and international law.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the same thing after the ICZ order. According to him, the accusation of genocide against Israel is “outrageous”. Netanyahu said Israel has the right to defend itself. The ICJ rejected South Africa’s call to deny that right.
However, rejecting ICZ’s order, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Galant said that there is no need for ICZ to teach Israel morality.
South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandora spoke to reporters after the ICJ order. He said, “Without a cease-fire in Gaza, this order of the court will not be of any use.” I had hoped that the order would include the cessation of hostilities. Still, I am satisfied with the orders given by the court.
A journalist present at this time asked, do you think that Israel will follow the instructions of ICZ? In response, the South African foreign minister said, he was never optimistic about Israel. But he hopes Israel’s “powerful friends” will advise the country to comply with the directives.
The European Union (EU) said in a statement on the order of the United Nations High Court that it wants the effective implementation of the ICZ order immediately. Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international human rights organization, referred to the ICZ order as a ‘milestone’ in an X message.
As stated in the order
South Africa filed a case at the ICJ late last month alleging Israeli genocide in Gaza. The case was heard for two days earlier this month. South African lawyers at the hearing urged the court to take urgent action to end the war in Gaza. On the other hand, Israel dismissed the accusation of genocide as baseless.
ICZ President Joan Dunehue read the interim order Friday after that hearing. According to the ruling, Israel must take all possible measures to prevent any actions that could be considered genocide in Gaza. At the same time, it must be ensured that Israel’s military forces do not get involved in genocide.
The court ordered Israel to refrain from publishing any comments inciting genocide in Gaza. The ICJ has also ordered that anyone who makes such comments should be punished. In addition, South Africa’s genocide case can be used—the country must also take care to prevent the destruction of evidence in Gaza.
The ICJ also ordered Israel to take steps to ensure access of humanitarian aid to Gaza. According to the court order, Israel must submit its report to the court within one month about the measures taken to fulfill the instructions in the order.
Yesterday’s order did not order a ceasefire in Gaza as requested by South Africa, but the ICJ said the genocide case would continue. The order said Palestinians are a group entitled to protection from genocide under the 1948 Genocide Convention.
The Genocide Convention was enacted in 1948 in response to the extermination of Jews by the German Nazis during World War II. According to that convention, genocide is an act committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, an ethnic, racial or religious group.
The ICJ issued an interim order yesterday, but a full verdict on the case could take years. There is no appeal against the judgment passed by this court. However, the court does not have the power to enforce that judgment. Although Israel is a signatory to the Genocide Convention, it is obliged to obey ICZ orders.
Pro-Palestinian protests were taking place outside the court in The Hague when the ICZ order was announced. Some of the protesters hugged each other and cheered when the order was announced. Today, the Gaza Ministry of Health reported that 183 people died in the Gaza Strip in the previous 24 hours due to Israeli attacks. Since October 7, 26 thousand 83 Palestinians have been killed there. The number of children among them is at least 10 thousand.
On October 7, the Palestinian independence organization Hamas attacked Israel. Then Israel started attacking Gaza. About 1,300 people have been killed in Israel by Hamas attacks. In addition, Hamas took about 240 hostages to Gaza.
In the face of Israeli attacks and threats, thousands of Palestinians are leaving Khan Yunis and moving further south to the Rafah area on the Egyptian border. According to the United Nations, 1.7 million people have already taken refuge in the area. UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said he felt like a “stream” of people was heading towards the Egyptian border from Khan Younis.
Tamer (55) has taken refuge in Rafah area after being displaced by the Israeli attack. He is aware of ICZ’s orders despite the ordeal that has lasted for more than three months. After the ICJ order, Tamer said, “What will happen if Israel does not comply with the court’s order?” Then the whole world will become a laughingstock. We have to wait until the Israeli bombardment stops, when it is our turn to die.’