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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

WATCH: ICJ orders Israel to immediately stop attacks in southern Gaza city of Rafah

The ICJ also ordered that Israel allow "unimpeded" access to the Gaza Strip to UN investigators.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Israel to immediately stop its attacks in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

The court delivered its order on South Africa’s latest request for a ceasefire in Gaza on Friday in a public sitting at the Peace Palace in The Hague.

The decision marked the third time this year the 15-judge panel has issued preliminary orders seeking to rein in the death toll and alleviate humanitarian suffering in Gaza. 

Watch Judge Nawaf Salam, President of the ICJ, delivering the order


Judge Nawaf Salam, President of the ICJ, said the court had voted 13-2 to call on Israel to immediately halt its military assault on Rafah, noting that the situation in Gaza had “deteriorated” since the last court order. He said the situation in Gaza is now characterised as “disastrous”.

“Provisional measures taken do not address consequences from the changed situation…

“The State of Israel shall in conformity with its obligation under the convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, and in view of the worsening conditions of life faced by civilians in Rafah governorate, by 13 votes to 2, immediately halt its military offensive and any other action in the Rafah governorate which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions that would bring about physical destruction.”

Salam said the court also noted that Israel must provide “unimpeded” access to the Gaza Strip to any “investigative body affiliated with reliable authorities for the purposes of investing allegations of genocide”.

He added Israel must submit a report on measures taken within one month.

READ: the full text of the #ICJ order on the request of South Africa of 10 May 2024 for the modification of the Order of 28 March 2024 in the case.


South Africa last week in a fresh application as part of its genocide case against Israel argued that Israel’s latest military’s full-scale assault on the southern city of Rafah, where about 1.5 million Palestinians have sought refuge, is the “last step in the destruction of all Gaza” and that the court must order the country to halt its military activity in Gaza and to withdraw its forces entirely.

Israel told the ICJ it rejected South Africa’s attempt to stop the assault on Rafah in Gaza, arguing that it has a “clear ulterior motive” in pushing its genocide case.

Judges at the ICJ have previously issued provisional measures, ordering Israel to take actions to limit humanitarian suffering in Gaza.

In March, the ICJ agreed with South Africa’s assertion that the situation in Gaza had deteriorated significantly since the initial order on 26 January, which Israel has failed to comply with.

ALSO READ: WATCH: ‘Israel intent on destroying Palestinian life’ – SA pushes for urgent ICJ action

Pressure on Israel

Global pressure for a ceasefire has mounted on Israel and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as three European countries said on Wednesday they would recognise a Palestinian state.

The week started with the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Kahn, seeking arrest warrants over war crimes against Netanyahu and his defence minister as well as three Hamas leaders.

Israel has angrily rejected those moves, voicing “disgust” over the ICC move and labelling a recognition of the State of Palestine as a “reward for terrorism”.

Domestic pressure has also risen in Israel as supporters of hostages trapped in war-torn Gaza again rallied outside Netanyahu’s office, demanding steps to free them.

NOW READ: SA welcomes ICC announcement seeking arrest warrants for Netanyahu and others

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