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South Africa urges ICJ to consider Rafah intervention

Country says Israel’s decision to extend operations could mean a further breach of rights of Palestinians


Protesters gather in front of the White House as US president Joe Biden says a ceasefire deal for Gaza is ‘on the table’. Follow live for the latest in the Israel-Gaza war. [Anadolu | Getty Images]

08.04 EST

South Africa makes urgent request for ICJ to consider Rafah intervention

South Africa has made an urgent request to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to consider whether Israel’s decision to extend its military operations in Rafah requires that the court use its power to prevent further breach of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza, South Africa’s presidency said on Tuesday.


South Africa cited section 1 of Article 75 of the Rules of Court, which says the court “may at any time decide to examine proprio motu whether the circumstances of the case require the indication of provisional measures which ought to be taken or complied with by any or all of the parties.”


In a request submitted to the court yesterday, the South African government said it was gravely concerned that the unprecedented military offensive against Rafah, as announced by Israel, has already led to and will result in further large scale killing, harm and destruction. This would be in serious and irreparable breach both of the Genocide Convention and of the Court’s Order of 26 January 2024.


10.51 EST

Summary of the day so far...

This blog will be on a pause. Below is a summary of today’s stories:

  • South Africa has made an urgent request to the UN’s international court to consider using its power to intervene in Rafah. The country’s presidency asked the court to consider whether Israel’s decision to extend its military operations in Rafah requires it to use its power to prevent further breach of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza.

  • The UN said it would not participate in any forced evacuation of Rafah. Jens Laerke, spokesperson for OCHA said the office had not recieved any Rafah evacuation plans from Israel. “Regardless, the UN does not participate in forced, non-voluntary evacuations. There is no plan at this time to facilitate the evacuation of civilians,” he said.

  • The US Senate voted in favour of sending Israel $14bn as part of a wider $95bn aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. The package would also provide $9.15bn in humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza and the West Bank and other conflict zones around the globe. Bernie Sanders was among the no votes, calling the bill “unconscionable”.

  • Joe Biden has said the US would do “everything possible” to make a ceasefire happen. After a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Biden said that “the key elements of the deal are on the table,’ but “there are gaps that remain.”

  • UK foreign secretary and former prime minister David Cameron said he has personally challenged the Israeli government over individual incidents in Gaza when asked about Hind Rajab. When asked if he challenges the Irsaeli government over individual episodes, Cameron said: “Yes, we absolutely do. I’ve done that personally with them over … and we will continue to do that as part of the very important process that we go through to judge whether they are in compliance with international humanitarian law.”

  • Former UK foreign secretary William Hague called for the removal of Benjamin Netanyahu. He said: “The long shot of building trust and a two state solution has little chance without the removal of Netanyahu”.

  • An Al Jazeera correspondent had his leg amputated and a photojournalist has been “seriously injured” in an Israeli airstrike that allegedly targeted the pair while they were working in Gaza. According to the news network, Ismail Abu Omar, one of its correspondents, and his camera operator, Ahmad Matar, were in northern Rafah when they were directly targeted by a missile fired by a drone. The two journalists were transferred to Gaza’s European hospital, where doctors amputated Omar’s leg in an effort to save his life. Matar was described by Al Jazeera as being in a “serious condition”.


10.41 EST

David Cameron, the UK’s foreign secretary, is now taking questions in the House of Lords. He said that he has personally challenged the Israeli government over individual incidents in Gaza.


Responding to a question from Green party peer Natalie Bennett, who raised the case of Hind Rajab, he said:


"First of all, the case she raises is completely tragic. And what is happening in Gaza is tragic that we want to see an end to the suffering and end of this killing.


Let me just make this point, that the pause we are calling for, we want to turn into a ceasefire, by making sure that the conditions are right for getting permanent ceasefire.


The way you do that is fulfilling a number of conditions. You’ve got to get, in our view Hamas leaders out of Gaza otherwise any ceasefire won’t last because the problem will still be there. You’ve got to dismantle the operation of terrorist attacks. You’ve got to have a new Palestinian Authority government in place. You’ve got to give the Palestinian people a political horizon to a better future, a two state solution, and crucially, you’ve got to release all of the hostages and do that very quickly.


She asked whether we challenge the Israeli government over individual episodes. Yes, we absolutely do. I’ve done that personally with them over, for instance, a building that was bombed that had UK medics and other charities in, and we will continue to do that as part of the very important process that we go through to judge whether they are in compliance with international humanitarian law."


10.38 EST

The head of Hezbollah in Lebanon said on Tuesday that his faction’s cross-border shelling into Israel would only end when Israel’s “aggression” on the Gaza Strip stops.


Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah threatened to displace more residents from northern Israel, where tens of thousands have already been evacuated from months of Hezbollah rocket fire, and said that if Israel’s military widened the war his group would do the same.


 

(c) 2024 The Guardian

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