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ICJ urges Israel to prevent genocide in Gaza

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The International Court of Justice, (ICJ), has ordered Israel to take all necessary steps to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza but has not ordered it to end the war.

The highly anticipated hearing was part of a contentious case filed by South Africa.

South Africa had requested the court force  halt military operations immediately pending a determination on whether Israel had committed genocide.

Israel has vehemently rejected the accusation as “wholly unfounded.”.

Friday’s hearing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague marked the first time the justices made a verdict in the two-week-old case.

A decision on the primary accusation of genocide is expected to take considerably longer, perhaps years.

Although the court did not order a halt to Israel’s military action, as South Africa had requested, it is being viewed as a triumph for those who support South Africa’s position.

The ICJ determined that it had jurisdiction over the matter, that there was a credible case under the 1948 Genocide Convention, and that the Palestinian people in Gaza were in actual danger of irreparable harm.

“For the implementation of the international rule of law, the [ICJ’s] decision is a momentous one,” said South Africa in a statement. It called Friday’s ruling a “significant milestone in the search for justice for the Palestinian people.”.

The Palestinian foreign minister stated that the ruling showed that “no state is above the law,” adding that it “should serve as a wake-up call for Israel and the actors who enabled its entrenched impunity.”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not explicitly respond to the verdict but said, “Israel’s commitment to international law is unwavering. Equally unwavering is our sacred commitment to defend our country.”

He stated that South Africa’s allegation that Israel was committing genocide was “not only false; it’s outrageous, and decent people everywhere should reject it.”.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant rejected the ICJ’s verdict, claiming Israel “does not need to be lectured on morality in order to distinguish between terrorists and the civilian population in Gaza.”.

A spokesman for Hamas, the Palestinian group whose unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7 sparked the conflict, termed the conclusion “important” and said it contributed to “isolating Israel.”.

The International Court of Justice ordered Israel to take a range of measures to prevent potentially genocidal activities against Palestinians in Gaza.

These include measures not only on the battlefield but also to prevent public incitement to genocide. It also directed Israel to take “immediate and effective measures” to facilitate the delivery of aid to Gazans.

The court ordered Israel to report on its compliance within a month.

The ICJ issues legally enforceable orders, but it lacks the authority to enforce them. Israel is not likely to comply with the instructions.

Since October 7, Israel’s shelling in Gaza has killed over 26,000 Palestinians, the majority of whom are women and children, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry.

Israel commenced its offensive after waves of Hamas terrorists crossed the border early that day, murdering over 1,300 people, the majority of whom were civilians, and capturing approximately 250 others captive in Gaza.

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