Gaza: South Africa asks ICJ to stop Israel’s offensive Gaza: South Africa asks ICJ to stop Israel’s offensive

By Cecilia Ologunagba

 South Africa is asking the UN’s top court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to order Israel to stop its military offensive in Rafah in southern Gaza.

It is presenting its case at a two-day hearing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.

Israel is to deliver its response at the court on Friday.

South Africa is also seeking to force Israel to allow “unimpeded access” to Gaza for aid workers, journalists and investigators.

The court is already considering a case brought by South Africa in January accusing Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel rejected the claim as false and “grossly distorted.”

Israel began its attack on Hamas in Rafah 10 days ago, amid warnings from the UN and others of a grave risk to civilians.

More than a million displaced people had been taking refuge in Rafah and nearly 600,000 have fled from there since the start of the operation.

South Africa’s application to the court accuses Israel of carrying out “genocidal” operations in Rafah and elsewhere in Gaza, and says that it “must be ordered to stop.”

“Urgent provisional measures are required to ensure the survival of Palestinians in Gaza,” the South Africa application said, in its latest claim filed on May 10.

It said the Israeli assault on Rafah posed extreme risk to humanitarian supplies and basic services into Gaza, the survival of the Palestinian medical system, and to the very survival of Palestinians in Gaza as a group.

It added that the situation was not only an escalation of the prevailing situation, but gave rise to new facts that were causing irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Rafah is “the last refuge” for Gazans, the South Africa petition continued, adding that the city was also the last viable centre” for shelter and basic services including medical care.

“The Israeli military’s seizure of Rafah crossing and the brief closure and ongoing access problems to nearby Kerem Shalom crossing have blocked the main entry points for lifesaving humanitarian aid to Gaza,” South Africa also insisted.

The ICJ court documents showed that the remaining population and medical facilities were at risk, given the recent evidence of evacuation zones being treated as extermination zones.

It also highlighted mass destruction and mass graves at Gaza’s other hospitals and the use by Israel of Artificial Intelligence to identify “kill lists.”

The International Court of Justice previously issued special orders to Israel late January – known as “provisional measures” – to prevent harm to Gazans.

The special orders followed South Africa’s allegation that Israel was in violation of its obligations as a signatory of the Genocide Convention.

There was no explicit call for an immediate halt to Israel’s full-scale military operation in the Strip. (NAN)