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Business News/ News / World/  South Africa urges World Court to pressure Israel to halt Rafah offensive
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South Africa urges World Court to pressure Israel to halt Rafah offensive

South Africa has asked the World Court to consider whether Israel's plan to extend its offensive in Gaza into Rafah requires additional emergency measures to protect Palestinians' rights.

Demonstrators gather with signs during a protest by Israeli left-wing activists against the war in the Gaza Strip and the planned ground operation in Rafah, outside the Kirya military base which houses the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv on February 13, 2024. (AFP)Premium
Demonstrators gather with signs during a protest by Israeli left-wing activists against the war in the Gaza Strip and the planned ground operation in Rafah, outside the Kirya military base which houses the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv on February 13, 2024. (AFP)

South Africa on Tuesday asked the World Court to consider whether Israel's plan to extend its offensive in Gaza into the city of Rafah requires additional emergency measures to protect Palestinians' rights.

Last month, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel to take all measures within its power to prevent its troops from committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, in a case brought by South Africa.

“South Africa submitted an “urgent request for additional measures under Article 75 (1)" of the Rules of Court in connection with the “developing circumstances in Rafah" in the case #SouthAfrica v. #Israel before the #ICJ," the court wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

However, Israel has denied all allegations of genocide in connection with its war against Gaza's ruling Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, and asked the court to reject the case outright, saying it respects international law and has a right to defend itself. 

Israel has said it is planning to expand its ground assault into Rafah, where over a million Palestinians have sought refuge from the offensive that has laid waste to much of the Gaza Strip since Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7, Reuters reported. 

In an official statement, South Africa's presidency said, “In a request submitted to the court yesterday (Feb. 12), the South African government said it was gravely concerned that the unprecedented military offensive against Rafah, as announced by the State of Israel, has already led to and will result in further large-scale killing, harm and destruction."

“This would be in serious and irreparable breach both of the Genocide Convention and of the Court's Order of Jan. 26," the statement added. 

In past cases, the ICJ has sometimes granted additional emergency measures when circumstances changed.

The court has not yet ruled on the core of the case brought by South Africa - whether genocide has occurred in Gaza. But it recognized the right of Palestinians in Gaza to be protected from acts of genocide.

 

(With Reuters inputs)

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Published: 14 Feb 2024, 07:26 AM IST
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