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South Africa’s case against Israel was held in The Hague. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The Israeli army on Tuesday stormed and occupied the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing with Egypt, closing Palestinians’ only gateway to the world.

South Africa filed an “urgent request” on Friday with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for additional measures amid Israel’s attacks on Gaza, particularly in the city of Rafah, where more than 1.4 million Palestinians are taking shelter.

“In its new request, South Africa states that the provisional measures previously indicated by the Court are not capable of ‘fully address[ing]’ the changed circumstances and new facts on which [its] Request is founded,” the ICJ said in a statement.

The Israeli army on Tuesday stormed and occupied the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing with Egypt, closing Palestinians’ only gateway to the world.

“South Africa requests the Court to indicate further provisional measures and modify the previous provisional measures,” it added.

“(The) situation brought about by the Israeli assault on Rafah, and the extreme risk it poses to humanitarian supplies and basic services into Gaza, to the survival of the Palestinian medical system, and to the very survival of Palestinians in Gaza as a group, is not only an escalation of the prevailing situation, but gives rise to new facts that are causing irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people in Gaza,” South Africa said in its request, according to the ICJ.

South Africa took Israel to the International Court of Justice in late 2023, accusing it of genocide in Gaza.

An interim ruling in January said it is “plausible” that Tel Aviv is committing genocide in the coastal enclave, and ordered Tel Aviv to stop such acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians.

On March 6, South Africa once again filed an urgent request with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the provisional measures the Court ordered on January 26, to be strengthened to prevent a catastrophic famine in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The urgent application has been necessitated by widespread starvation in Gaza, which has claimed the lives of at least 15 children in the past week alone, with the actual numbers believed to be much higher,” the South African presidency said in a statement.

It stressed that United Nations experts warn that “the number of deaths will increase exponentially unless military activities are halted and the blockade is lifted.”

In its new request, the ICJ said, South Africa stated that it is “compelled to return to the Court in light of the new facts and changes in the situation in Gaza — particularly the situation of widespread starvation — brought about by the continuing egregious breaches of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide . . . by the State of Israel . . . and its ongoing manifest violations of the provisional measures indicated by this Court on 26 January 2024”.

It requested the Court to indicate further provisional measures and/or to modify the provisional measures indicated in its Order of 26 January 2024 … “in order urgently to ensure the safety and security of 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, including over a million children”, the ICJ stated.

Genocide Case

On December 29, 2023, South Africa approached the ICJ seeking an order to prevent Israel from committing genocide against the Palestinian people.

On January 26, 2024, the Court ruled that South Africa’s claim met the standard of plausibility and, on the request of South Africa, ordered Israel inter alia, to take action to prevent and punish genocide, incitement to genocide, and to enable the immediate and effective provision of basic services and humanitarian assistance to besieged Gaza.

These ‘Provisional Measures’ were issued by the Court to prevent irreparable and irreversible harm to the rights of Palestinians pending the Court’s final decision on the case.

“Regrettably, Israel has not complied with the Court’s binding Order, but has instead escalated its genocidal acts against the Palestinian people,” the Presidency said.

Gaza Genocide

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.  

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 34,971 Palestinians have been killed, and 78,641 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children. 

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba. 

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’. 

(PC, Anadolu)

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