BLOG Israel carried out an attack on Rafah, shortly after the court's decision to suspend operations

Conflict between Israel and Hamas - 231th day

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International Court of Justice, The Hague, Photo: Reuters
International Court of Justice, The Hague, Photo: Reuters
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Ažurirano: 24.05.2024. 21:47h
Finished
21: 42h

The Israeli army carried out new attacks on Rafah, shortly after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered the country to halt its military offensive against the city in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

As Anatolia reports, in air strikes by the Israeli army on several locations in the central part of Rafah, several people were injured and transported to the Kuwaiti hospital.

Residents of Rafah are reported to have said they are worried and scared about new attacks by the Israeli army.

Medical teams and members of the Civil Defense continue their activities in the center of Refa to reach the injured after the bombing.

The ICJ today ordered Israel to immediately stop its military offensive on Rafah, a city where a large number of Palestinians have taken refuge.

According to United Nations (UN) agencies, more than 800 Palestinians have fled Rafah due to the land invasion.

The court stated that the humanitarian situation in Rafah is now "catastrophic and worsening".

The UN's highest court ordered Israel to report to the court within one month on the progress in implementing the measures ordered by that institution.

19: 57h

Israel's National Security Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for Israel to stop operations in Gaza that risk destroying the civilian population in the south of the Palestinian territory "false, shameful and disgusting".

"Following the horrific terrorist attack on the citizens of Israel on October 7, 2023, Israel launched a just defensive war to eliminate the terrorist organization Hamas and free our hostages," the council and ministry said in a joint statement.

"Israel is doing so in accordance with the right to defend its territory and its citizens while adhering to moral values ​​and international law," the statement added.

In addition, it claims that "Israel has not and will not conduct military operations in the Rafah area to create conditions that could lead to the destruction of the Palestinian civilian population in whole or in part."

It is announced that Israel will continue its efforts to allow humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip in accordance with the law and act as much as possible to minimize harm to the civilian population.

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Change: 20:04 p.m
17: 29h

The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas welcomed today's decision by the International Court of Justice to order Israel to immediately stop its military offensive in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.

Hamas, however, assessed that this was not enough and demanded a halt to the Israeli offensive in the entire Gaza Strip - reports agencies.

In addition, Hamas called on the UN Security Council to implement the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Israel's minister of finance, the ultra-rightist Bezalel Smotrich, said after the ICJ decision that those who demand that Israel stop the war "are asking that it decide to cease to exist" and added that the country will not agree to that.

Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir, also an ultra-rightist, announced on the social network X (Twitter) that the court in The Hague is anti-Semitic and that the court order to stop the offensive on Rafah should have only one answer, the occupation of that city, increasing military pressure and crushing Hamas until total victory in the war is achieved.

The Palestinian Authority, which rules parts of the other Palestinian territory of the occupied West Bank, welcomed the ICJ decision, saying it represented an international consensus to end the war in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian President Nabil Abu Rudein's spokesman told Reuters.

The decision was also welcomed by South Africa, whose lawyers last Sunday asked the ICJ to order immediate measures, saying that Israeli attacks on Rafah must stop to ensure the survival of the Palestinian people.

"This order is binding and Israel must abide by it," said a South African statement carried by agencies.

In a broader case, South Africa accused Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinian people, which the court has not ruled on and it could be years before a verdict is handed down, but rejected Israel's request not to consider it.

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15: 39h

Judges at the United Nations' top court have ordered Israel to halt its military assault on the southern Gaza town of Rafah, amid a wider case in which South Africa accuses Israel of genocide.

Reading the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), or World Court, the body's president, Nawaf Salam, said the situation in the Palestinian enclave had worsened since the court last ordered Israel to take steps to improve it. The conditions have been met for the issuance of a new emergency order, according to Reuters. 

"The State of Israel (...) to immediately cease its military offensive and any other action in the Rafah governorate, which could cause the Palestinian group in Gaza living conditions that could lead to its physical destruction in whole or in part," he said he.

The court also ordered Israel to open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza to allow humanitarian aid, and said it must provide access to the besieged enclave for investigators and report on its progress within a month.

The order was passed by a panel of 15 judges from around the world by a 13-2 vote, with only judges from Uganda and Israel itself dissenting.

Change: 16:01 p.m
15: 16h

Judges at the United Nations' highest court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), have begun reading their decision on a request to order Israel to halt its offensive on the southern Gaza town of Rafah and withdraw from the enclave, in a case brought by South Africa accusing Israel of for genocide, reports Reuters.

A panel of 14 permanent judges from countries around the world, plus an additional ad hoc judge appointed by Israel as a party to the case, took their seats in a courtroom in The Hague.

Outside, a small group of pro-Palestinian protesters waved flags and blasted the tail on a "boom box" calling for freedom for Palestine.

A decision against Israel could cause more diplomatic pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.

South Africa's broader case before the ICJ accuses Israel of orchestrating state genocide against the Palestinian people. The ICJ has not ruled on the merits of that charge - that could take years - but rejected Israel's request to dismiss the case.

The ICJ, also known as the World Court, is the UN's highest body for adjudicating disputes between states. Its rulings are final and binding, but have been ignored in the past. The court has no authority to compel execution of the judgment.

In previous rulings, the court ordered Israel to prevent acts of genocide against Palestinians and allow the flow of aid to Gaza, while failing to order a halt to Israeli military operations.

Israel has repeatedly dismissed the case's allegations of genocide as baseless, arguing in court that its operations in Gaza are self-defense and aimed at Hamas militants who attacked Israel on October 7.

15: 10h

Much-needed food supplies on the Egyptian side of the border with the Gaza Strip began to rot as the border crossing was closed for the third consecutive Sunday after Egypt refused to open it as long as the Israeli army controls the Palestinian side.

The Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt, the main entrance for goods and people entering and leaving Gaza, has been closed since May 7 because Israel took it over from Hamas, Israeli media remind.

Since the Israeli army took control of the crossing, Egypt has stopped coordinating the entry of trucks from its territory into Gaza, insisting that the other side of the crossing be under Palestinian control before opening it.

The result is the accumulation of aid on the road between the Egyptian side of the crossing and the town of Al-Arish, 45 kilometers from Rafah, where donations from abroad arrive.

Truck drivers try to unload spoiled food, selling it at a reduced price in local markets in the north of the Sinai Peninsula.

This led to the confiscation of spoiled eggs, said local officials of Egypt's Ministry of Supply.

One truck driver, Mahmud Hussain, said that his vehicle has been loaded for a month and the food is gradually spoiling in the sun, so some of it is thrown away and the rest is sold cheaply.

He says that apples, bananas, chicken and cheese have gone bad, and that some food has been returned and is being sold for a quarter of the original price.

Israel and the US have called on Egypt, which is also worried about the risk of Palestinian displacement from Gaza, to open the border.

Egyptian officials say humanitarian operations are at risk because of military activity and that Israel should therefore hand the crossing back to the Palestinians to reopen, Reuters reported.

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14: 23h

The chancellor, Olaf Scholz, declined to speculate on whether Germany would carry out an International Criminal Court warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, noting that no warrant has yet been issued and that Israel has an independent judiciary, according to Reuters.

"The panel of judges will decide," Scholz said at a joint press conference in Berlin with his Portuguese counterpart when asked about the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor's request for a warrant regarding Israel's conduct in the Gaza war.

When deciding whether to issue a warrant, judges "keep in mind that Israel is a democratic state with a strong and independent judiciary," reports Reuters.

According to the principle of complementarity, the Hague-based ICC can only prosecute crimes where the local jurisdiction is unable or unwilling to do so. If the judges find that Israel itself is conducting a credible investigation into the allegations made by the ICC prosecutor, they could reject the request.

14: 01h

Israeli forces have stepped up military strikes on Gaza, residents and medics said, with heavy fighting reported in Jabalia in the north and tanks "pushing" further towards Rafah in the south, Reuters reported.

Doctors said at least five Palestinians were killed when houses in Jabalia were hit and that more were believed to be trapped under the rubble, but that the area could not be reached due to the intensity of the bombardment.

In the southern city of Rafah, bordering Egypt, where an escalating Israeli offensive has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee one of the few remaining places of refuge, residents reported explosions and smoke rising in the distance as tanks advanced on in the east to the district of Zhaneini.

Residents said tanks destroyed a local market and bulldozers continued to destroy shops and property in the narrow streets of Jabalia. Hamas's hired armed wing said its fighters had three tanks there.

Tanks also advanced near the nearby Kamal Advan hospital, where doctors said Israeli fire had caused operations at the last functioning medical facility in the northern Gaza Strip to halt.

Israel had said its forces had cleared Jabalia, the largest of Gaza's eight historic refugee camps, months earlier in the war. But he returned there this month, saying he needed to prevent the regrouping of Islamist militants, and the area has seen intense fighting in recent weeks.

Judges at the UN's top court are due to rule later in the day on South Africa's request to order Israel to halt its Rafah offensive and withdraw from Gaza, part of a wider case accusing Israel of genocide.

13: 53h

The head of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William Burns, is expected today or tomorrow in Paris to try to restart talks with Israel on the ceasefire in Gaza, Agence France-Presse learned from a Western source close to the issue.

Yesterday, Israel gave the green light to resume negotiations with the aim of freeing the hostages held in Gaza. The truce negotiations, which are being conducted indirectly with the Palestinian Islamist Hamas, have not yielded results for months.

The Western source partially confirmed the information previously published by the American media.

According to the US website Axios, the head of the CIA, William Burns, is due to come to Europe "in the coming days" to meet with the head of the Mossad, Israel's secret service, the prime minister of Qatar in an effort to restart negotiations.

According to the New York Times, it is not certain that the Qatari and Egyptian negotiators will directly participate in the planned talks between Burns and his Israeli counterpart, David Barney.

In late January, Burns and senior officials from Egypt, Qatar and Israel reportedly met in Paris to discuss a ceasefire agreement in the Gaza war.

In early May, indirect talks between Israel and Hamas, mediated by Qatar, Egypt and the US, failed to reach an agreement on a ceasefire related to the release of hostages and Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

11: 15h

The Israeli military announced today that it has recovered the bodies of three hostages abducted by Palestinian Hamas during the October 7, 2023, attack on Israel.

The bodies of three men were found during the night, in a joint operation by members of the Israeli army and intelligence services in Jabalia, in the north of the war territory, according to the army's statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and said that Israel has a duty to do everything to return the abductees.

"We have a national and moral duty to do everything we can to return our hostages, living and deceased, and that is what we are doing," Netanyahu said.

Palestinian extremists launched an attack on southern Israel on October 7 last year. About 1.200 people were killed and 250 kidnapped.

Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip that followed killed more than 35.000 people.

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11: 14h

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has entered its 231th day.

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