Israel’s war on Gaza and the interim ruling of the ICJ

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Israel’s war on Gaza and the interim ruling of the ICJ, Israel has been ordered to comply with the 1948 Genocide Convention, allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza and act against those who make genocidal statements under provisional measures issued by the International Court of Justice on Friday.

Israel’s devastating war on Gaza, which has killed more than 26,000 Palestinians since October 7, was not halted or stopped by the World Court’s interim ruling in the case brought by South Africa accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza.

In its ruling, the court reaffirmed that it had the authority to direct provisional measures, rejecting Israel’s claim.

In response to the ruling, the Palestinian Authority expressed its gratitude. Riyadh Maliki, Palestinian Foreign Minister, said in a statement that the ICJ’s ruling is an important reminder that no state is above the law. In Palestine, it ends a decades-long culture of criminality and impunity that has characterized Israeli occupation, dispossession, persecution, and apartheid.”

However, analysts said Friday’s directives could affect the war in Gaza, even though the court cannot enforce the interim ruling or the final verdict. As global calls for a ceasefire have gained momentum in recent weeks, Israel and its American supporters have come under pressure.

South Africa accuses Israel of genocide, but Friday’s ruling does not resolve the issue. Although currently serving as the president of the International Court of Justice, Judge Joan Donahue explained that the ICJ concluded that Gaza’s “catastrophic situation” could worsen before delivering its final ruling, thus justifying provisional measures.

Having said that, Michael Becker, assistant professor at Trinity College in Dublin and associate legal officer at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, said that the ruling sends a strong message to Israel that it must restrain itself as it conducts its military campaign. Becker is also an associate legal officer at the International Court of Justice, and said the ruling sends a strong message to Israel that the court views the situation as extremely serious.

How long can the war last?

Israeli troops did not stop their military campaign in Gaza as part of the provisional measures ordered by the ICJ. According to South Africa, the prospect of genocide in Gaza prompted its request for provisional measures.

In March 2022, after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine, the court ordered that its war in Ukraine end. Moscow ignored the court’s order.

Therefore, Israel wouldn’t violate the ICJ’s Friday directive if it continued with a war it vowed to pursue until Hamas was decimated, the Palestinian armed group who executed nearly 1,200 people and abducted 240 others on October 7.

The actions of its soldiers in Gaza and statements from its leaders and generals will likely make the Netanyahu government more scrutinized than ever.

The ICJ has mandated that Israel submit a report within a month demonstrating that it is in compliance with those provisional measures. Israel’s claims will be exposed to South Africa’s scrutiny.

The ICJ ruling may not even be followed by Israel?

The South African case was dismissed by Israeli officials as “lies” and accused of being hypocritical when filed late December at the ICJ. According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, no ruling could sway Israel.

From Netanyahu’s official account on X, formerly Twitter, the Israeli Prime Minister wrote: “We will restore security to both the north and the south.” We will not be stopped – by The Hague, by the axis of evil, or by anyone else.

It is unlikely that Israel will ignore the ruling of the ICJ, but international support will continue to be exerted on it.

Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights executive director Mark Lattimer told Al Jazeera that Israeli politicians have already said they will ignore the ICJ order. Because of the World Court of Justice’s long history of support or holding, it is much harder for the US and European states to ignore the order.”

It’s expected that Israel’s allies in the West, including the US, will obey the ICJ ruling. There will be serious repercussions if we do not comply.

By doing so, it would undermine U.S. credibility in maintaining an international rules-based order, Lattimer said. Furthermore, it would “deepen a growing divide” between the US and Western countries and those in the Global South who are skeptical of those claims.

How will the ruling affect the global ceasefire pressure?

It may make it harder for Israel’s allies to stonewall global efforts to bring an end to the war, despite the ruling itself not calling for one.

A human rights lawyer at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a fellow at the ICJ told Al Jazeera: “The ruling puts a lot more pressure on the US and other Western allies to move toward a ceasefire.” It is harder for the US, along with Israel, to convince Western governments that Israel is acting within the confines of international law and that it is acting to defend itself in Gaza since Western governments are still very concerned about international legitimacy.

Israel may also know this, according to some evidence. Israel’s tactics changed on the ground after South Africa announced it would go to the International Court of Justice, experts said.

Hassan said controlled bombings of universities and hospitals were aimed at eliminating any possibility of Palestinian return to Gaza’s north. If you remove hospitals from war zones, people cannot stay there. In other words, that’s part of a strategy to force Palestinians to move and be permanently displaced.”

Perhaps Israel is acknowledging that it has less time left to carry out its military campaign.

According to Lattimer, the international community needs to exert sufficient pressure to create more incentives for a negotiated ceasefire. “The ICJ order is one of the most important contributions.”

Our brothers and sisters in arms

In particular, the US provides Israel with military aid that allows it to continue its war efforts. Two times in less than a month, Joe Biden circumvented Congress to approve emergency weapons sales to Israel.

It has not escaped criticism for failing to convince Israel to hold higher regard for innocent lives in Gaza, including internally, even though it says it has asked Israel to protect civilians.

It is concerning to the administration that an increasing number of lawmakers, particularly moderate Democrats in the Senate, have raised concerns about US weapons being misused and the potential for US complicity if they continue to supply unconditional supplies to Israel.

Israeli military action could be made more accountable if the ICJ ruling adds steam to the fight for a ceasefire in Gaza.

It’s time to end this war on Gaza the moment the US says, ‘We won’t resupply you,‘” Hassan said.

That news provided by Timenews.

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