Gaza: ICJ orders Israel to “immediately” stop its military offensive in Rafah

The UN’s highest court on Friday ordered Israel to halt its military offensive in Rafah, a move likely to add to international pressure for a truce after more than seven months of war. Israel must “immediately stop its military offensive, and any other action carried out in the Rafah governorate, which would be likely to inflict on the group of Palestinians in Gaza conditions of existence capable of leading to its physical or partial destruction,” declared the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which sits in The Hague.

The ICJ also called for the immediate release of those taken hostage by Hamas during the October 7 attack. The International Court of Justice “considers it deeply worrying that many of these hostages remain in captivity and reiterates its call for their immediate and unconditional release,” it declared during a hearing.

Information to remember:

  • The bodies of three hostages were recovered in the Gaza Strip, including that of Orion Hernandez, French-Mexican
  • The International Court of Justice has ordered Israel to “immediately” stop its military offensive in Rafah.
  • The Israeli army continues to bomb the Gaza Strip
  • Benjamin Netanyahu will address the US Congress “soon”

Earlier this week, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, requested the issuance of arrest warrants against Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian Hamas, including the leader of movement in Gaza, Yahya Sinouar.

Despite the controversy, Benjamin Netanyahu will address the American Congress “soon”, the Republican leader of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, announced Thursday evening after Democratic President Joe Biden castigated Prosecutor Khan’s announcement. “Tonight, I am pleased to announce something else: we will soon welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu to the Capitol for a joint session of Congress,” the House speaker said at a reception at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

On Friday, the ICJ must rule on a request from South Africa, which accuses Israel of “genocide” in the Gaza Strip, to “immediately” order a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. . The orders of this court, also based in The Hague but which decides disputes between states, are legally binding but it has no means of enforcing them.

Bodies of three hostages recovered in Gaza

The Israeli army announced Friday that it had recovered the bodies of three hostages held in the Gaza Strip since the Hamas attack on Israeli soil on October 7. “The bodies of the hostages (Chanan) Yablonka (Israeli, Editor’s note), Michel Nisenbaum (Israeli-Brazilian, Editor’s note), and Orion Hernandez (Radoux, Franco-Mexican, Editor’s note) were recovered during the night during a joint operation” of the Israeli army and intelligence services in Jabalia, in the north of the territory at war, indicates the army in a press release.

During a joint operation by the army and Israeli intelligence services, three bodies of hostages killed on October 7 then taken to the Gaza Strip were recovered overnight in Jabalia, a town in the north of the Palestinian territory. The Israeli army indicated on Friday that it was continuing its operations there, particularly in the eponymous displaced persons camp, now reduced to a field of ruins, strewn with rubble.


This war began on October 7 with the attack on Israeli territory by Hamas terrorists infiltrated from the Gaza Strip, which led to the death of more than 1,170 people, mainly civilians, according to an AFP count carried out from official Israeli data. Of the 252 people taken as hostages on October 7, 124 are still being held in Gaza, of whom 37 are dead, according to the army.

In response, the Israeli army launched a devastating offensive in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the European Union and the United States in particular, took power in 2007. At least 35,800 Palestinians, mainly civilians, died in this offensive, according to data from the Health Ministry of the Hamas-led Gaza government.

Civil Defense in Gaza City, in the north, said Thursday that two airstrikes had killed 26 people, including 15 children. Sixteen of them were killed in a strike that hit their home, the other 10 in a bombing of a mosque and a school.

Violent street fighting also pitted the armed wing of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement against Israeli forces in Jabalia, in the north. “We only hear the sound of explosions and shots in the eponymous camp,” Mahmoud al-Charif, a 31-year-old Palestinian, told AFP. Early Friday, Israeli strikes continued in the Gaza Strip, with hospital sources reporting several injured in strikes on Deir al-Balah in the center.

“Caution and precision”

“A war is being waged against hospitals in the Gaza Strip,” Dr. Khalil Al-Darkan, spokesman for Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, told AFP, warning that Operations at the establishment may be interrupted due to a fuel shortage.

Since an Israeli ground offensive in early May on part of the town of Rafah and the takeover of the Palestinian side of the eponymous border crossing, the UN says it has noted a paralysis of fuel deliveries, essential to power hospital generators.

As for the other major entry point for goods, that of Kerem Shalom, “the private sector is currently a priority”, compared to the UN, the head of the UN agency told AFP. for Palestinian refugees (Unrwa), Philippe Lazzarini.

The Israeli army launched ground operations in Rafah on May 7 with the stated objective of annihilating the last Hamas battalions there and rescuing the hostages, ignoring international warnings about the fate of civilians. Consequence: 800,000 people fled Rafah according to the UN. “We are not making a resounding (incursion) on Rafah, we are operating with caution and precision,” said Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, spokesperson for the Israeli army, on Thursday.

The CIA as reinforcement

In parallel with the judicial activity in The Hague and the violence in Gaza, Israel remains confronted, on a diplomatic level, by the announcement on Wednesday of Spain, Ireland and Norway to recognize a Palestinian state. On Thursday, the director of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jacob Blitstein, warned after a meeting with the ambassadors of these countries that their decision would have “serious consequences”, and that it would make “more difficult the promotion of an agreement for the release of the hostages”.

After the release of a video showing the kidnapping of female soldiers by Hamas terrorists on October 7, the war cabinet nevertheless ordered Israeli negotiators to “return to the negotiating table to obtain the return of the hostages”, according to a senior official. At the beginning of May, indirect Israel/Hamas negotiations, through Qatar, Egypt and the United States, did not result in a truce agreement associated with the release of Palestinian hostages and prisoners held by Israel.

According to the American site Axios, the head of the CIA, William Burns, must go to Europe “in the coming days” to meet the head of Mossad, the Israeli secret service, and the Prime Minister of Qatar, in an effort to revive the talks. Citing a “highly placed source”, the media Al-Qahera News, close to Egyptian intelligence, estimated that “the Israeli position was still not conducive” to a “ceasefire and the release of the hostages”.

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