Global powers seek Israel’s compliance with ICJ ruling on Gaza

Published January 27, 2024
ICJ President Joan Donoghue (C) speaks at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) prior to the verdict announcement in the genocide case against Israel, brought by South Africa, in The Hague on January 26. — AFP
ICJ President Joan Donoghue (C) speaks at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) prior to the verdict announcement in the genocide case against Israel, brought by South Africa, in The Hague on January 26. — AFP

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Turkiye, Pakistan have hailed the ruling by the United Nations’ top court that Israel should do everything it can to prevent any acts of genocide in Gaza.

The US has called genocide allegations against Israel ‘unfounded’.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed hope that the decision would lead to a ceasefire.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague had earlier handed down its first judgement in a landmark case brought by South Africa that also ordered Israel to allow humanitarian access to the Palestinian territory.

“Today, Israel stands before the international community, its crimes against the Palestinians laid bare,” Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation.

Pakistan calls for ‘immediate ceasefire’

“We expect Israel as a self-proclaimed democracy and a state that respects the rule of law to abide by the measures handed down.”

South Africa’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the ruling as “a decisive victory for the international rule of law and a significant milestone in the search for justice for the Palestinian people”.

Pakistan also welcomed the measures ordered by the ICJ and called for an “immediate and unconditional ceasefire”.

“The Court has also ordered Israel to take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement.

EU expects full implementation

Meanwhile, the European Union said it expected Israel and Hamas to fully comply with the rulings of the ICJ.

“Orders of the International Court of Justice are binding on the parties, and they must comply with them. The European Union expects their full, immediate and effective implementation,” the European Commission said.

Spain, one of the most critical voices in Europe of Israel’s offensive against Hamas, welcomed the ruling.

“We welcome the decision of the International Court of Justice and ask the parties to apply the provisional measures it has decreed,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez wrote on social network X, the former Twitter.

Germany has called upon Israel to adhere to the ruling and pressed Hamas to release the remaining prisoners.

“The international court of justice did not decide on the main issue, but ordered temporary measures in the interim legal protection proceedings,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

“We will support this with all our might, as well as the measure ordered by Israel to urgently allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan also hailed the ruling, saying he hoped it would halt attacks against civilians. “We hope that Israel’s attacks against women, children and the elderly will come to an end,” Erdogan said in a social media statement, calling the ruling “valuable.”

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran have also welcomed the ruling and condemned Israel’s “violations of the UN Convention on genocide”.

‘Unfounded allegations’

US has said that it still believes genocide allegations against Israel ‘unfounded’ and that today’s ruling was “consistent with the Biden administration’s calls for Israel to minimise civilian harm, increase humanitarian assistance and address dehumanising rhetoric”.

We continue to believe that allegations of genocide are unfounded and note the court did not make a finding about genocide or call for a ceasefire in its ruling and that it called for the unconditional, immediate release of all [prisoners] being held by Hamas,“ a State Department spokesperson said.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2024

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