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Oman welcomes ICJ order to halt offensive on Rafah

25 May 2024 Oman welcomes ICJ order to halt offensive on Rafah

Muscat – The Sultanate of Oman has welcomed the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) imposing additional emergency measures on Israel to immediately stop military operations in Rafah, allow humanitarian aid and access to Gaza for war crimes investigators.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry called on the international community, especially the Security Council, to hold Israel to its responsibilities in accordance with international law and to implement the decision of ICJ to immediately stop aggression in the Palestinian territories.

The United Nations’ top court on Friday ordered Israel to immediately halt its controversial military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, further increasing international pressure on Israel over its war against Hamas.

“Israel must immediately halt its military offensive and any other action in Rafah which may inflict – on the Palestinian group in Gaza – conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” Judge Nawaf Salam, president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), said.

The court considered the humanitarian situation in Rafah to be classified as ‘disastrous’, he said, adding that UN officials have indicated that the situation was set to ‘intensify even further’ if the Israeli operation in Rafah continues.

South Africa filed an urgent request on May 10 for additional measures against Israel, accusing it of using forced evacuation orders in the southern Gaza city of Rafah to ‘endanger rather than protect civilian life’.

The request was part of a larger case brought by Pretoria against Israel in which South Africa accused Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians during the seven-month-long conflict.

Criticism of Israel’s conduct in the war in Gaza has been growing.

Last week alone, three European countries announced they would recognise a Palestinian state, and the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court requested arrest warrants for Israeli leaders, along with Hamas officials.

More than a million Palestinians were taking shelter in Rafah before Israel started its operation, but the court noted that around 800,000 have since been displaced.

Upon entering Rafah, the military seized the city’s border crossing with Egypt, which has remained shut since. The crossing was a vital entry point for humanitarian aid.

The court ordered Israel to open the Rafah crossing for humanitarian assistance and said it had found that the evacuation and living conditions provided by Israel are not “sufficient to alleviate the immense risk, which the Palestinian population is exposed” to.

Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said on the social media platform X that “the State of Israel is at war for its existence.

“Those who demand that the State of Israel stop the war, demand that it decrees itself to cease to exist. We will not agree to that,” he said.

Rulings by the court are final and binding, but the ICJ doesn’t have a mechanism to enforce them, and they have been ignored in the past.

Agencies

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