UN Court Calls for Israel to Minimize Gaza Civilian Casualties

(IntegrityTimes.com) – In the culmination of the trial by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), on Friday January 26, the top United Nations judicial body ruled that Israel must work to avoid killing Palestinian civilians and curtail the destruction of infrastructure in Gaza. Earlier this month South Africa brought accusations of genocide, in violation of the Genocide Convention of 1951, against Israel to the ICJ, demanding an immediate ceasefire.

The ICJ’s resolution gave all parties part of what they wanted, but none of them got all that they asked for. Israel made a request to dismiss the genocide case brought against them by South Africa outright, but that was rejected. Professor of international law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Robbie Sabel commented that the ruling could not be seen as a win for Israel as their retaliation against Hamas being associated with genocide could cause poor public relations.

The ICJ says they ruled that Israel constrain their military activities, take action to prevent incitement to commit genocide, and punish those who publicly encourage or endorse genocide against the Palestinian people with some immediacy because of the ongoing conflict, but they do not have to rule on whether what is taking place now is a genocide yet. ICJ President Joan Donoghue says that South Africa does have the standing to make the accusation of genocide against Israel, but as Israel rejects this characterization of their actions it comes down to a dispute between the two nations which will be a longer and more involved case that could take years.

South African foreign minister Naledi Pandor commented that while pleased with the ruling, she would have preferred an unequivocal cease-fire. That would have been Israel’s biggest fear according to Shelly Aviv Yeini, who is head of the international law department at the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum. Pandor said the current ruling is something Israel can comply with, but that the discourse in Israel is that there can be no ceasefire until all of the hostages are released.

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