South Africa Applauds ‘Tougher’ ICJ Order on Israel

South Africa on Friday welcomed an order by the International Court of Justice to Israel to halt its offensive in the Gaza city of Rafah, and urged UN member states to back it.

“I believe it’s a much stronger, in terms of wording, set of provisional measures, a very clear call for a cessation,” Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor told public broadcaster SABC.

South Africa has brought a case before the ICJ alleging the Israeli military operation in Gaza, launched in response to the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas militants, amounts to “genocide”.

The court is considering that case, but in the interim has brought in “preliminary measures” ordering Israel do everything it could to prevent acts of genocide during its campaign against Hamas.

Israel has nevertheless pursued its operation, notably in assaulting the refugee-packed city of Rafah, and South Africa requested Friday’s ruling on further interim orders.

Pandor said South Africa was “really pleased” that the court had heeded its call and argued that its case “is getting stronger and stronger by the day, that a genocide is underway”.

But she warned that Israel is unlikely to heed the order, arguing it was time for UN members and the Security Council to step up and enforce international law.

“Israel has had impunity for so long that they don’t care what the global community says,” she said.

“So I think the responsibility goes to us a member states of the United Nations and most particularly to the Security Council,” she said.

“It is clear we are all fearful. We are all seeing the horror unfold and something needs to be done and we cannot just rely on those who are the executioners of this ongoing onslaught to be the ones to stop it.”

The Gaza war broke out after Hamas’s unprecedented attack on October 7 resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 35,800 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to data provided by the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

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