ICJ orders Israel halt Rafah invasion, open crossings to aid – Day 230

ICJ orders Israel halt Rafah invasion, open crossings to aid – Day 230

Int’l Court of Justice orders Israel to STOP; Israeli settlers attack aid trucks again; Pope calls Gaza every night; Al Awda Hospital hangs by a thread; demand for ICC to investigate Palestinian prisoner abuse; punishing Spain for recognizing Palestine; Israeli policy to drive out pastoral communities; Colombian embassy coming to Ramallah; Netanyahu invited to speak to Congress; Nikki Haley, more.

By IAK staff, from reports.

ICJ orders halt to Israel’s Rafah offensive and opening of crossings to aid:

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that Israel must halt its offensive in Gaza’s Rafah, following a plea from South Africa.

The court issued a ruling in January that Israel must do everything to prevent genocidal acts being committed in Gaza, but stopped short of ordering a ceasefire.

However, South Africa argued that Israel’s recent ground attack in Rafah, preceded by months of bombardment, changed the situation on the ground and should compel the court to issue fresh emergency orders.

ICJ President Nawaf Salam said the humanitarian situation in Gaza was now “disastrous” and said earlier measures issued were insufficient.

“Israel must immediately halt its military offensive and any other action in the Rafah governorate which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” he said, reading out the judgment to the court.

Judge Nawaf Salam also said in his ruling, “Israel must take effective measures to ensure the unimpeded access to the Gaza Strip of any commission of inquiry, fact-finding mission or investigative body mandated by the competent organs of the UN to investigate allegations of genocide.”

Protesters hold a Palestinian flag as they gather outside the International Court of Justice (ICJ). January 26, 2024
Protesters hold a Palestinian flag as they gather outside the International Court of Justice (ICJ). January 26, 2024 (photo)

UNRWA chief says Israel is prioritizing private vehicles over trucks filled with aid:

AFP reports: UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini told AFP that over the past two weeks, inspectors at the Kerem Shalom checkpoint have been prioritizing private sector vehicles over trucks filled with aid. The Rafah crossing remains closed and under Israeli military control.

While private goods are “welcome in the Gaza Strip”, he said most Gazans are desperate after seven months of war and cannot afford goods at the current market prices.

Only 143 aid trucks have entered south Gaza since May 6, according to UNRWA’s online monitoring database – a sharp drop from a peak of 340 trucks entering the south of the Palestinian territory on May 3, according to the same database.

The resulting shortages and insecurity prompted UNRWA and the World Food Program to announce the suspension of food distribution in southern Gaza, including Rafah, on Tuesday.

Lazzarini said the new crossings had provided some relief to north Gaza and “we might have reversed the trend leaning towards famine”.

But he added that the Israeli assault on Rafah had led to a deterioration in south Gaza where “there might be some reversal of gains we have made over the last month and a half”.

REUTERS ADDS: Some of the food supplies waiting to enter the Gaza Strip from Egypt have begun to rot as the Rafah border crossing remains shut to aid deliveries for a third week and people inside the Palestinian enclave face worsening hunger.

Sam Rose, planning director for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), says before the war, 500 trucks were getting in a day. The “paltry amounts” now getting in are “not at the levels needed to meet the basic life-saving needs of the population.”

Israeli colonists attacks flour-loaded truck south of Nablus:

WAFA reports: Israeli colonists today attacked a flour-loaded truck close to the town of Beita, south of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, according to local sources.

They said that a mob of colonists intercepted the truck loaded with flour sacks near Sbeih Mount and sabotaged part of the shipment.

Colonist mobs have been attacking trucks for being suspected of carrying humanitarian aid to the blockaded war-torn Gaza Strip.

In one incident, video footages have gone viral on social media showing colonists throwing boxes of much-needed supplies on the ground and setting at least a truck ablaze.

The Nablus governorate is dotted with at least 13 colonies and 35 colonial outposts, mostly notorious for their hardcore religious colonists, as there are over 800,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank, including Jerusalem.

Doctors Without Borders sounds alarm on the situation at al-Awda Hospital in northern Gaza:

Doctors Without Borders says al-Awda Hospital “is being forced to close”.

“This follows a terrifying 4-day siege – the latest in a series of systematic attacks on health care by Israeli forces. Staff & patients were forced to leave one of the only hospitals still functioning in the north of Gaza,” it said on X.

Al-Awda Hospital came under siege by Israeli forces on Sunday and since then has come under direct attack by the Israeli army several times.

Israeli attacks on hospitals part of ‘campaign to eradicate Palestinian society’:

 Dr Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian emergency physician, spoke to Al Jazeera about the continued attacks on medical facilities by Israeli forces in Gaza following the ongoing sieges on al-Awda and Kamal Adwan hospitals.

He said there is no proof to back up the claims made by the Israeli military that the hospitals are used by Palestinian fighters.

“My experience from more than 20 years in Gaza is that the Palestinians don’t use civilian structures as what [Israel is] claiming, as some sort of hideouts for the armed resistance,” he said.

The Israeli attacks on hospitals, mosques, education facilities and bakeries are part of a “campaign to eradicate the Palestinian society and any sign of Palestinian structures in the civilian life”, he said.

“This is the politics of eradicating the Indigenous people to take their lands.”

Civil defense teams in Gaza are pictured after discovering a third mass grave in the vicinity of al-Shifa hospital on 8 May 2024
Civil defense teams in Gaza are pictured after discovering a third mass grave in the vicinity of al-Shifa hospital on 8 May 2024 (photo)

20 newborns at Al-Aqsa hospital at risk amid fuel shortages:

The lives of over 20 newborn babies at Al-Aqsa hospital are at risk, as oxygen generators will shut down imminently due to fuel shortages, Unicef has warned.

“Gaza needs more fuel now and safe corridors for humanitarian workers to operate,” the UN’s children agency said in a post on X.

Gaza’s health ministry warned on Thursday that services at the hospital would shut down imminently due to fuel shortages. Power outages have forced the hospital to abandon equipment and treat patients manually on the floor.

UN expert calls for probe of allegations of torture and mistreatment against Palestinian detainees:

From UN High Commissioner For Human Rights: The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Alice Jill Edwards, has urged the Government of Israel to investigate multiple allegations of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment against detained Palestinians since 7 October 2023.

“Persons deprived of liberty must always be treated humanely,” Edwards said. “They must be provided with all protections required under international human rights and humanitarian law, whatever the circumstances of their detention.”

Since the attacks of 7 October 2023, it is estimated that thousands of Palestinians including children have been detained. Palestinians from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and from Gaza are being held in prisons run by the Israeli Prison Service and in Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) camps.

The Special Rapporteur received allegations of individuals being beaten, kept in cells blindfolded and handcuffed for excessive periods, deprived of sleep, and threatened with physical and sexual violence. Other reports suggest prisoners have been insulted and exposed to acts of humiliation, such as being photographed and filmed in degrading poses, while prolonged use of zip-tie handcuffs has reportedly caused friction injuries and wounds.


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“I am particularly concerned that this emerging pattern of violations, coupled with an absence of accountability and transparency, is creating a permissive environment for further abusive and humiliating treatment of Palestinians,” she said.

It appears that no effective measures have been taken by the Israeli authorities to investigate these allegations.

Euro-Med Monitor has just published a new report with testimony from 100 freed Palestinian detainees from Gaza, and criticizing ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan for disregarding “the widespread and systematic torture” committed by Israeli forces against Palestinians when he applied for an arrest warrant for Netanyahu and Gallant.

(Read a summary of Euro-Med’s report here.)

NOTE: Israel’s self-investigations consistently whitewash its crimes and fail to appropriately punish the perpetrators. Israeli sources, including the government itself, have a long track record of lying (for example, this and this and this.)
Males of all ages were arrested, beaten, and stripped by Israeli soldiers Thursday. They were taken to an undisclosed location.
Males of all ages were arrested, beaten, and stripped by Israeli soldiers last December. They were taken to an undisclosed location. (photo)

Israel’s Foreign Minister punishes Spain (and Palestinians) for Spain’s recognition of Palestinian state:

WAFA reports: In response to Spain’s recognition of a Palestinian state, The Israeli Foreign Minister, Yisrael Katz, has decided to prohibit the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem from providing services to Palestinians from the West Bank, said a post on the minister’s X account.

This arbitrary measure comes in the context of threats made by Israeli officials in response to the recognition of the State of Palestine by three European countries; Ireland, Norway and Spain.

On Wednesday, Katz ordered the immediate recall of Israeli ambassadors to Ireland, Norway, and Spain and their immediate return to Israel in response to the countries’ decision to recognize the State of Palestine.

“This hasty step taken by these countries will have severe implications,” he warned.

Israeli settlers take over Palestinian pastureland as part of state policy to drive out pastoral communities:

In February and March 2024, B’Tselem documented some 20 incidents in which Israeli settlers and soldiers drove Palestinian shepherds out of pastureland in the South Hebron Hills, using various means.

These incidents are part of a deliberate pattern of settler actions meant to promote Israel’s policy of expulsion, crucially affecting the survival of these communities.

The State of Israel is working to drive Palestinian pastoral communities out of their homes in the West Bank in order to take over their areas of habitation, including farmland and pastureland, and use them for its own purposes.

To that end, it combines official practices, implemented by branches of the state such as the Civil Administration and the military, with an unofficial arm of organized settler violence and harassment. This combination is used, among other things, to limit the communities’ ability to set their flocks to graze, which damages their income – making them more vulnerable and easier to drive out.

In the last decade, dozens of “farms” have been established by settlers in the West Bank, supported by the state but not officially authorized, in order to take over pastureland in Palestinian rural areas.

(Read the full statement here.)

Colombia to open embassy in Ramallah:

Reuters reports: Colombian President Gustavo Petro has ordered the opening of an embassy in the Palestinian city of Ramallah, Foreign Minister Luis Gilberto Murillo told journalists on Wednesday.

“President Petro has given the order that we open the Colombian embassy in Ramallah, the representation of Colombia in Ramallah, that is the next step we are going to take,” Murillo said.

Murillo added he believes more countries will soon begin backing the recognition of a Palestinian state before the United Nations.

At the beginning of this month, Petro, who had already recalled the Colombian ambassador from Tel Aviv, said he would break diplomatic relations with Israel over its actions in Gaza. The embassy was closed on May 3.

Petro has heavily criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and has requested to join South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide at the International Court of Justice.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz accused Petro of being “antisemitic and full of hate” following Colombia’s decision to cut ties with the Middle Eastern country, saying the move was a reward for Hamas.

Palestinian children check a destroyed building in the aftermath of the Israeli raid on Jenin
Palestinian children check a destroyed building in the aftermath of the Israeli raid on Jenin (photo)

121 rights organizations urge US president to respect ICC independence:

Andalou Agency reports: A total of 121 human rights and civil society groups called on US President Joe Biden to respect and support the independence of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to reject sanctions threatened against the court’s officials.

President Joe Biden attends an event on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in the Rose Garden.
President Joe Biden attends an event on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in the Rose Garden. (photo)

The groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, highlighted the ICC’s role in ensuring justice for grave international crimes in a letter to Biden on Thursday.

They urged the Biden administration to denounce recent threats by some US lawmakers to sanction ICC officials if arrest warrants were pursued against top Israeli officials accused of war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

“Acting on these calls would do grave harm to the interests of all victims globally and to the US government’s ability to champion human rights and the cause of justice, which are stated priorities of your administration,” it said, adding, “a selective approach to judicial decisions undermines the credibility, and ultimately, the force of the law as a shield against human rights violations and abuses.”

“We urge you to oppose any legislative efforts to undermine the ICC, and to make clear that regardless of its views on specific ICC investigations, the United States continues to support independent international justice mechanisms,” the letter added.

Mike Johnson & Chuck Schumer respond to ICC war crimes probe by inviting Netanyahu to address Congress:

Middle East Monitor reports: In a show of veneration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been invited to address American lawmakers in Congress. Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson revealed yesterday that Netanyahu will soon address a joint session of Congress in person. “We will soon be hosting Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Capitol for a joint session of Congress,” Johnson said, noting that it would be “a very strong show of support to the Israeli government.”

The invitation comes as Netanyahu faces war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) related to Israel’s military onslaught in Gaza. ICC chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, made a historic decision on Monday requesting arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The warrants cover crimes of extermination and starvation as methods of war; the denial of humanitarian relief supplies and deliberately targeting civilians in conflict.

In response to the ICC’s intervention, some US lawmakers have taken the extraordinary step of escalating threats against Khan and his team with sanctions. If warrants are issued for Netanyahu’s arrest, it will oblige all 124 ICC signatory States to arrest and hand over the Israeli prime minister and Gallant if they set foot on their territory.

Nikki Haley to arrive in Israel next week for ‘solidarity visit’:

Jerusalem Post reports: Former US presidential candidate Nikki Haley is scheduled to arrive in Israel next week on a “solidarity visit,” The Jerusalem Post learned on Wednesday.

Haley, who will be accompanied by Likud MK Danny Danon, plans to tour the Gaza border area and communities in the South and North and meet with senior officials. Danon served alongside Haley when they were both ambassadors to the United Nations.

Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper reports: “Jewish Megadonors Back Haley as Long-shot GOP Candidate Faces Crunch Time Against Trump.

“Haaretz analysis shows that Jewish billionaires were not shy of showing their support for both Nikki Haley and AIPAC’s super PACs in the latter half of 2023, pointing to her as the preferred pro-Israel candidate. WhatsApp inventor Jan Koum and hedge fund manager Paul Singer donated a combined $16 million to Haley’s and AIPAC’s super PACs.”

In a 60 Minutes interview, Pope Francis said he stays informed on Gaza:

The pontiff told interviewer Rosie O’Donnell that there is one Catholic church in the Gaza Strip, the Holy Family Church, and that he calls there every evening at 7 p.m. and speaks with the priest, Father Youssef Asaad.

Some 600 Gazans — Catholic and non-Catholic alike — have taken shelter in the church compound, which is in the north of Gaza City.

“I listen. The other day they were happy because they managed to eat some meat. The rest of the time they eat flour, things made of flour. Sometimes they go hungry… And the other people there also speak to me at times. There is a lot of suffering.”



Al Jazeera: Why is Israel angry some EU countries are recognizing Palestine?
Al Jazeera: Medics in Gaza risking their lives to save people hurt by Israel’s war.
IMEMC Reports.

Palestinian death toll from October 7 – May 23: at least 36,317* (35,800 in Gaza* – 4,959 women (20%), 7,797 children (32%) identified – and at least 517 in the West Bank (~117 children). This does not include an estimated 10,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 43,640 Palestinian deaths. (Information on Gaza statistics here.)

At least 42 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons (27 from Gaza, 14 from West Bank).

At least 31 Palestinian children and several adults have died due to malnutrition**.

About 1.7 million, or 75% of Gaza’s population are currently displaced.

About 1.1 million (out of total population of 2.3 million) are facing Catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – May 23: at least 85,051 (including at least 80,011 in Gaza and 5,040 in the West Bank).

It remains unknown how many Americans are among the casualties in Gaza.

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – May 23: ~1,433 (~1,139 on October 7, 2023, of which ~32 were Americans, and ~36 were children); 283 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza; 16 in the West Bank) and~8,730 injured.

Times of Israel reports: The IDF also listed 41 soldiers killed due to friendly fire in Gaza and other military-related accidents – nearly 16%.

NOTE: It is unknown at this time how many of the deaths and injuries in Israel on October 7 were caused by Israeli soldiers.

*Previously, IAK did not include 471 Gazans killed in the Al Ahli hospital blast since the source of the projectile was being disputed. However, given that much evidence points to Israel as the culprit, Israel had previously bombed the hospital and has attacked many others, Israel is prohibiting outside experts from investigating the scene, and since the UN and other agencies are including the deaths from the attack in their cumulative totals, if Americans knew is now also doing so.

**Euro-Med Monitor reports that Gaza’s elderly are dying at an alarmingly high rate. The majority die at home and are buried either close to their residences or in makeshift graves dispersed across the Strip. There are currently more than 140 such cemeteries. Additionally, according to Euromed, thousands have died from starvation, malnourishment, and inadequate medical care; these are considered indirect victims as they were not registered in hospitals. 

Find previous daily casualty figures and daily news updates here.

Hover over each bar for exact numbers.
Source: IsraelPalestineTimeline.org 

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