Gaza Israel angrily rejects UN court ruling

This was the outcome Israel sought to avoid: a demand to stop a military operation that the government considers essential to the defeat of Hamas and the return of the hostages.

But there are no immediate signs that Israel will change course as a result of Friday’s ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Their tanks are approaching the center of Rafah and just as the decision was being read, a series of airstrikes sent a huge black cloud over Rafah.

Some of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline colleagues have reacted angrily, accusing the court of anti-Semitism and siding with Hamas.

Former government spokesman Eylon Levy noted that the presiding judge, Nawaf Salam, was Lebanese and “could not return home safely if he ruled ‘on the wrong path’.”

But for Netanyahu’s critics, this is a further sign of Israel’s growing international isolation.

Consider the most recent signs, even before today:

  • The prospect of arrest warrants for Netanyahu and his Defense Minister by the International Criminal Court
  • European countries prepare to recognize the State of Palestine
  • There is growing evidence that the Biden administration is losing patience with Israel’s refusal to engage in a meaningful plan for the future.

Israel will be dismayed that its arguments did not appear to sway the ICJ judges.

It says it has done everything it can to ensure civilians are out of harm’s way before sending troops to Rafah.

And he says he is making sure food and other vital supplies reach Gaza.

There are elements of truth in both arguments. More than 800,000 civilians have fled Rafah.

And while it is true that very little aid has entered the southern Gaza Strip since the Rafah offensive began almost three weeks ago, Israel has allowed hundreds of trucks carrying commercial goods to enter, meaning that in some parts of the territory there is food available (if not necessarily affordable).

Despite repeated warnings of famine, especially in the north, mass starvation has not yet set in.

If anything, the situation in the north may have improved somewhat thanks to the opening of additional crossing points.

But the court seemed unimpressed. He argued that a new wave of mass displacement represented a major new threat to the lives and well-being of the Palestinian population, demanding new measures.

South Africa argued that Rafah represented “the last line of defense” for the Gaza Strip. If Rafah suffers the same fate as other cities in the territory, she said, it could cause further irreparable harm to the entire Palestinian population.

This is what the court is trying to prevent.

Israel says that is not the purpose of its operation in the south and appears willing to move forward.

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