South Africa Urges ICJ To Order Israel To Withdraw From Rafah

As part of additional emergency measures over the war in Gaza, the government of South Africa has called on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to order Israel to withdraw from Rafah.

This was made known by the United Nations’s top court on Saturday.

In January, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an order to Israel in a case brought by South Africa, alleging that Israel has committed acts of genocide against Palestinians. The ICJ’s order requires Israel to avoid any actions that could be considered genocidal under the Genocide Convention and to ensure that its troops do not commit any genocidal acts against Palestinians.

Africa Today News, New York reports that Israel has repeatedly said it is acting in accordance with international law in Gaza, and has called South Africa’s genocide case baseless and accused Pretoria of acting as “the legal arm of Hamas”.

In filings published on Friday, South Africa is seeking additional emergency measures in light of the continuing military action in Rafah, which it calls the “last refuge” for Palestinians in Gaza.

The city in the south of Gaza is crammed with hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians living in dire conditions and there have been warnings that an Israeli ground offensive would trigger a humanitarian catastrophe for civilians.

Read Also: Germany Denies Allegation Of Aiding Genocide In Gaza At ICJ

South Africa’s application said Israel’s operation against Rafah poses an “extreme risk” to “humanitarian supplies and basic services into Gaza, to the survival of the Palestinian medical system, and to the very survival of Palestinians in Gaza as a group,” the UN court said in a statement.

“Those who have survived so far are facing imminent death now, and an order from the Court is needed to ensure their survival,” South Africa’s filing said.

South Africa also asked the court to order that Israel allow unimpeded access to Gaza for UN officials, organisations providing humanitarian aid, and journalists and investigators.

Israel’s 401st Brigade entered the Rafah crossing on Tuesday morning, a day after the Palestinian group governing Gaza said it accepted an Egyptian-Qatari mediated ceasefire proposal. Israel, meanwhile, insisted the proposal did not meet its core demands.

Tanks and planes pounded several areas and at least four houses in Rafah overnight, killing 20 Palestinians and wounding several others, according to Palestinian health officials.

Some 110,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah in recent days, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The UN also noted that the Israeli army’s takeover of the Rafah border crossing has shut down the entry of aid into Gaza for the past three days.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the Rafah offensive was needed to defeat Hamas.

Africa Today News, New York

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