International Court of Justice orders Israel to let aid into Gaza

International Court of Justice orders Israel to let aid into Gaza

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Israel to allow humanitarian aid to reach Palestinians in Gaza as “famine is setting in”.

The UN court was asked by South Africa around a month ago to make further provisional measures in its case against Israel.

South Africa alleges that Israel is breaching the 1948 Genocide Convention through acts and omissions “intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group, that being the part of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip”.

The ICJ imposed provisional measures in January, ordering Israel to “take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian aid”. Human rights campaigners have accused the Israeli government of failing to comply with that order.

In its new order, the ICJ said it “observes with regret that, since [the January order], the catastrophic living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have deteriorated further, in particular in view of the prolonged and widespread deprivation of food and other basic necessities to which the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been subjected”.

“The court observes that Palestinians in Gaza are no longer facing only a risk of famine, as noted in the order of 26 January 2024, but that famine is setting in, with at least 31 people, including 27 children, having already died of malnutrition and dehydration according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs,” it added.

Israel has been ordered to “take all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay, in full co-operation with the United Nations, the unhindered provision at scale by all concerned of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance, including food, water, electricity, fuel, shelter, clothing, hygiene and sanitation requirements, as well as medical supplies and medical care to Palestinians throughout Gaza, including by increasing the capacity and number of land crossing points and maintaining them open for as long as necessary”.

It has also been told to “ensure with immediate effect that its military does not commit acts which constitute a violation of any of the rights of the Palestinians in Gaza as a protected group under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, including by preventing, through any action, the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance”.

Israel must submit a report to the ICJ on its measures taken to comply with the order within a month.

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