Written by 03:45 World

ICJ Hears Arguments from South Africa on Israel’s Rafah Offensive

South Africa on Thursday urged the judges of the United Nations’ top court to order Israel to end its ground assault on Rafah in southern Gaza, saying it put Palestinian life in the enclave at imminent risk of destruction.

The hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague came after South Africa requested last week that the court issue further constraints on Israel in its military campaign in Gaza. In filings disclosed by the court, South Africa cited the “irreparable harm” posed by Israel’s incursion into Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza where half of the territory’s population had sought refuge.

“It has become increasingly clear that Israel’s actions in Rafah are part of the end game in which Gaza is utterly destroyed as an area capable of human habitation,” Vaughan Lowe, a British lawyer, told the court. “This is the last step in the destruction of Gaza and its Palestinian people.”

Mr. Lowe was part of the South African legal team that presented its case over two hours on Thursday.

South Africa’s filings said the rights of Palestinians in Gaza were under threat, adding that Israel’s control over two major border crossings in southern Gaza — at Rafah and at Kerem Shalom — put at extreme risk the flow of humanitarian supplies into Gaza and the ability for hospitals there to function.

“It is difficult to imagine such a situation could get worse, but, unfortunately, it has,” John Dugard, another member of the South African team, told the court.

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Last modified: 18 May 2024
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