International Court of Justice Orders Israel to Immediately Cease Rafah Offensive

AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, Pool, File

The International Court of Justice has ordered Israel to cease offensive operations in the Gazan city of Rafah. 

The top United Nations court cited an “immediate risk” to Palestinians, noting that more than 800,000 people had been forced to flee Rafah since Israeli forces began ground operations in an area that had once been declared a safe zone.
Judge Nawaf Salam, president of the ICJ, said Israel had failed to sufficiently address and dispel concerns raised by its offensive, all while the “catastrophic” living conditions of Palestinians in the strip had deteriorated further.

The ICJ is the UN’s highest court, and its order is not expected to be observed. Instead, like the ICJ prosecutors requesting arrest warrants on Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, this is calculated to undermine the legitimacy of Israel’s right to self-defense in the aftermath of the October 7 slaughter perpetrated by Hamas.

BACKGROUND: BREAKING: ICC May Issue Arrest Warrants for Netanyahu and Defense Minister Gallant Over Gaza Invasion

It is particularly telling that the decision was handed down even as Israel is continuing to recover the bodies of hostages from Rafah.

BACKGROUND: Three More Bodies of Israeli Hostages Found Overnight

It is also telling that the judge handing down the decision has a public record of bias against Israel.

Israel has indicated it would not accept a court order to end the war against Hamas. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was meeting with legal advisors to review the ruling, an Israeli official told NBC News, shortly after it was issued.

As the ICJ doesn’t have any enforcement authority, I think we know Netanyahu’s response will be.


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