World Court Orders Israel To Halt Military Operations in Rafah

Tel Aviv said the ruling would not stop it from continuing to destroy Gaza

by Kyle Anzalone May 24, 2024

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Israel must halt military operations in Rafah. The court made the ruling after South Africa appealed to the court to take action as Israeli military operation in the southern region of Gaza has displaced nearly a million people and prevented aid deliveries. Tel Aviv said the court’s decision will not stop Israeli forces from achieving their objectives in Gaza.

On Friday, ICJ President Nawaf Salam announced the court had ruled 13-2 that Israel must halt military operations in Rafah, open border crossings to aid deliveries, and allow investigators into Gaza. The ruling came after oral argument from South Africa, who requested the ICJ order Tel Aviv to halt the offensive, and Israel.

Late last year, Pretoria initially filed accusations of genocide against Israel at the World Court. In January, the ICJ issued a preliminary ruling that it was plausible that Israel was committing a genocide against the people of Gaza but stopped short of ordering Israel to halt military operations in the Strip.

After Israel launched an assault on Rafah earlier this month, South Africa asked the court to issue an explicit ruling ordering Israel to halt the offensive. Prior to the court issuing the ruling, Israeli officials said they would not comply with any demand to halt the offensive.

The ICJ is the court for the UN. All members of the UN, including the US and Israel, are subject to its rulings. However, a government spokesperson told Reuters that  “no power on earth” can stop the Israeli onslaught.

American officials also targeted the ICJ for its ruling. “As far as I’m concerned, the ICJ can go to hell. The ICJ’s ruling that Israel should stop operations that are necessary to destroy four battalions of Hamas killers and terrorists – who use Palestinians as human shields – is ridiculous. Senator Lindsey Graham posted on X. “This will and should be ignored by Israel.”

Tel Aviv has lost much of its international support as it has killed at least 35,000 Palestinians over the past seven months. During that period, the White House has sent Israel thousands of bombs and Congress approved another $17 billion in military aid for Tel Aviv.

The operations in Rafah have displaced nearly one million Palestinians. The assault also closed the Rafah border crossing, bringing aid deliveries into the Strip to a trickle. The lack of food has caused some agencies to curtail or end distributions, pushing the people of Gaza closer to famine.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of Antiwar.com, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.