UN’s top court orders Israel to ‘immediately halt’ Rafah offensive in landmark ruling

Judges at the top United Nations court have ordered Israel to halt its military assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, in a landmark emergency ruling on South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide.
Reading out the ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or World Court, the body’s president Nawaf Salam said the situation in the Palestinian enclave had deteriorated since . Conditions had been met for a new emergency order.
“The state of Israel shall (….) immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” he said.
The court also ordered Israel to , and said it must provide access to the besieged enclave for investigators and report back on its progress within one month.

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

It was handed down a week after it was requested by South Africa as
The ICJ is the highest UN body for hearing disputes between states. Its rulings are final and binding but have been ignored in the past. The court has no enforcement powers.
Reaction from both sides was swift. Hamas welcomed the verdict and called on the UN Security Council to implement the ICJ decision.
The Palestinian Authority said the decision represented an international consensus to end the war, Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told Reuters.

But Israel finance minister Bezalel Smotrich said those who demand Israel should stop the war are demanding it should decide to cease to exist.

The ruling came as Israeli forces stepped up military strikes on Gaza, residents and medics say, with heavy fighting reported in Jabalia in the north and tanks pushing further into Rafah.
In Rafah residents reported explosions and smoke rising in the distance as tanks advanced further into the eastern district of Jneina.
Israel has bombarded Gaza since according to the Israeli government. More than 35,000 people have been killed in Gaza since 7 October, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Gaza.
The 7 October attack was a significant escalation in the.

Bodies of three hostages recovered

The Israeli military said it had recovered the bodies of three hostages taken into Gaza after they were killed on 7 October.
It said the bodies of Hanan Yablonka, Michel Nisenbaum and Orion Hernandez Radoux were recovered overnight in a joint operation by the army and the intelligence services in Jabalia.
Simultaneous Israeli assaults on the northern and southern edges of Gaza in May have caused a new exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fleeing their homes, and have cut off the main access routes for aid, raising the risk of famine.
An Axios report citing an unnamed US official said the heads of the US CIA and Israel’s Mossad would meet in Paris on Friday with the prime minister of Qatar in an attempt to .

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