ISLAMABAD: Supporters of the Palestinian cause on Friday hailed the ICJ verdict ordering Israel to halt its military operation in Rafah, as Pakistan called on the international community to immediately implement the world court’s decision to stop Israeli aggression in Gaza.

In a statement issued after the ruling, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif paid tribute to the courage of the 13 judges who made the decision and thanked South Africa for filing the petition against Israel’s genocidal campaign against Palestinians.

He also urged the international community to ensure the provision of humanitarian aid and relief to the people of Palestine besides providing immediate access to the UN investigation commission to Gaza and Rafah.

Pakistan will continue to play its role in protecting the basic human and legal rights of the Palestinian people, he assured.

Later, PM Shehbaz telephoned his Irish counterpart Simon Harris and felicitated him on assuming office.

On the issue of Palestine, the PM expressed deep admiration for the recent decision taken by the government of Ireland to recognise the state of Palestine. Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Turkiye and Saudi Arabia were also among the countries that welcomed the ruling.

In a statement, the Egyptian foreign ministry called on Israel to “comply with its legal obligations within the framework of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and international humanitarian law, and to implement all interim measures issued by the ICJ, which are considered legally binding and enforceable, as they are issued by the highest international judicial body.”

“Egypt stresses that Israel bears full legal responsibility for the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip as the occupying power, calling on Israel to stop its systematic policies against the Palestinian people of targeting, starvation and siege in violation of all provisions of international law and international humanitarian law.”

In its statement, Saudi Arabia also welcomed “the decision issued by the International Court of Justice ordering Israel to immediately stop the military offensive or any other actions in Rafah, in accordance with the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”

Anwar Iqbal adds from Washington: US media outlets, such as CNN and The New York Times, noted that President Biden had quickly rejected the ICJ’s arrest warrant against the Israeli prime minister last week, but had yet to comment on Friday’s order.

Several media outlets noted that the US judge at the ICJ, Sarah Cleveland, voted in favor of the court’s order for Israel to halt its offensive on Gaza’s Rafah. When she was elected as an ICJ judge last November, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised the court as a “guardian of international law.”

Amnesty International, emphasized that all third-party states have a legal duty to prevent genocide, meaning they themselves must take action to ensure that the ICJ’s provisional measures are implemented.

Oxfam praised the ICJ order to halt Israel’s military actions in Rafah, emphasizing that Israel “must comply with the ruling, cease its offensive, and allow humanitarian aid to reach Gaza.”

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2024

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