Israeli lawyers at Int’l Court of Justice out of touch with reality – Day 224

Israeli lawyers at Int’l Court of Justice out of touch with reality – Day 224

Israel defends its attack on Rafah with lies; UN commemoration of the Nakba emphasizes Israel’s options for Palestinians: “displacement, subjugation, or death”; as Gaza pier (paid for by US) becomes operational, US denounces Israel’s refusal to open land routes for aid; West Bank deaths; University of California academics authorize strike for Gaza; more

Israel Defends Rafah Operation as ‘Limited and Localized’ at U.N. Court

New York Times reports: At a hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Israel responded Friday to a South African petition for the court to order an immediate halt to its ground assault in Rafah.

Lawyers representing Israel defended the military operation in Rafah as “limited and localized,” arguing at the United Nations’ top court that the judges should not seek to restrict Israel’s actions in Gaza.

NOTE: Israel’s “limited and localized” argument on Friday is belied by the fact that Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Thursday that “additional forces will enter” Rafah and attacks will “intensify.” “Hundreds of targets have already been struck and our forces are maneuvering in the area,” he added.

Gilad Noam, the Israeli deputy attorney general for international law, argued that the court ran the risk of engaging in “micromanagement of operational aspects of an armed conflict.”

He said that demanding a cease-fire would only tie Israel’s hands because Hamas — an armed group rather than a state — was not subject to the court’s jurisdiction.

NOTE: Israel’s war is not against Hamas, but against all Palestinians: Israeli leaders have declared, “it is an entire nation that is responsible,” and “all of Gaza should be erased” and “there is no such thing as uninvolved civilians in Gaza” and “Now we all have one common goal—erasing the Gaza Strip from the face of the earth.”

Mr. Noam said that Israel’s justice system was working to crack down on alleged wartime misconduct, and that military prosecutors had opened 55 criminal investigations into possible violations by Israeli forces since the beginning of the war.

Human rights groups argue the Israeli military cannot credibly investigate itself and that soldiers who kill Palestinians under contested circumstances rarely face substantial penalties.

NOTE: These human rights groups have documented Israel’s failure to self-investigate when it comes to aggression against Palestinians – for example, this, this, this, this, and this.

Israeli officials have accused South Africa, by filing the case, of acting as a “legal arm” of Hamas, which led the deadly Oct. 7 attack.

On Friday, Gilad Noam, the Israeli deputy attorney general for international law, repeated Israel’s fierce rejection that it was committing genocide in Gaza. He said the Israeli authorities were working to facilitate the flow of humanitarian aid and to protect civilians amid fierce combat across the enclave, including in Rafah.

NOTE: Humanitarian aid is decidedly not flowing into Gaza. Since Israel took over the Rafah crossing on May 7, aid has almost stopped completely (see graphic below from OCHA). While aid is beginning to enter on a small scale from the Gaza pier, it is not enough, and can not replace delivery of aid by land.

“Israel is taking steps to try and contend with the massive complexity that such a situation presents,” Mr. Noam told the judges. “That is why there has not been a large-scale assault on Rafah, but rather specific limited and localized operations prefaced with evacuation efforts and support for humanitarian activities.”

NOTE: Israel has made little to no effort to safely evacuate civilians from Rafah, or to provide a safe destination for them; meanwhile it has been bombing locations in the city on a daily basis.

Israel intentions of ‘displacement, subjugation or death’ of Gazans are clear: Palestine envoy

Andalou Agency reports: The Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, on Friday condemned Israel’s atrocities against the Palestinian people, saying the Tel Aviv government no longer hides its true intentions, which include “displacement, subjugation or death”, Anadolu Agency reports.

“It took 75 years for the United Nations to recognize and commemorate the Nakba, but the Nakba is not a historical event. It is a terrible reality still endured by our people, as Israel has yet to abandon its plans to push us out of history and geography,” Mansour said at a commemorative panel discussion titled “1948-2024: The Ongoing Palestinian Nakba.”

The commemoration of the “Nakba” (catastrophe), which refers to the mass displacement and dispossession of Palestinians from their lands, comes “at a time where one of the most terrible chapters of this ongoing Nakba is underway,” the envoy said, highlighting Israel’s ongoing bombing and starvation of people in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians commemorate 15 May as Nakba Day as Israel declared independence on 14 May, 1948, occupying Palestinians’ lands after forcing them to flee their homes.

“The Israeli government no longer hides its true intentions,” he said, adding that Palestinians are facing three options: “displacement, subjugation or death.”

Despite Israel’s denial of Palestine’s existence, rights and statehood, Mansour stressed that “there is now universal recognition of the Palestinian people, and soon it will be matched by universal recognition of our State.”

The Palestinian ambassador concluded by thanking university students across the US and in all corners of the globe for “their bravery and principled position, calling for the end of the war and the disarming of the Israeli army.”

A Palestinian man points to US military markings on a discarded ammunition container
A Palestinian man points to US military markings on a discarded ammunition container (photo)

‘Just unacceptable’: US denounces Israel’s land closures for Gaza aid

Al Jazeera reports: More aid needs to flow into Gaza despite a new US-built pier off the coast becoming operational, says White House National Security communications adviser John Kirby.

He told Al Jazeera the first aid delivery was made on Thursday off the pier with 300 pallets of food, and the hope is that will triple in the coming days.

“It’s not enough getting in right now. This temporary pier is not enough all on its own to get the food, water, and medicine to the Palestinians in Gaza they so desperately need. We have to get those land crossings open as soon as possible. Clearly not enough is being done to open up the crossings. That’s just unacceptable,” said Kirby.

He noted there are aid trucks waiting at three land crossings to get into Gaza, and “the Israeli military can do that without a significant footprint”.

Palestinian child crying amid a crush of children in line to receive food prepared by volunteers for Palestinian families displaced to southern Gaza by Israeli attacks, on February 10, 2024
Palestinian child crying amid a crush of children in line to receive food prepared by volunteers for Palestinian families displaced to southern Gaza by Israeli attacks, on February 10, 2024 (photo)
NOTE: Thousands of aid trucks are reportedly waiting at the southern border of Gaza, where Israel has made it extremely difficult to pass, employing complicated and arbitrary procedures. Israel has on multiple occasions fired at individuals waiting for food aid (recently killing over 100 at one time), at least once allegedly sending fake text messages to Gazans, telling them to assemble and then shooting at them when they did.
Israel has also attacked food aid convoys and those who accompanied them several times.
Additionally, Israeli citizens have blocked a border crossing for weeks with no meaningful attempt by Israel to reopen it; they have also attacked trucks they believed were heading to Gaza, destroying their contents and in some cases starting them on fire.
In mid-March, Israel promised to “flood” Gaza with aid, but has failed to do so.
The US has for months expressed its desire to see appropriate amounts of humanitarian aid reaching the starving people of Gaza on one hand, while undermining Gaza’s largest aid organization on the other. 
In mid-March, Israel promised to “flood” Gaza with aid, but has failed to do so.
Meanwhile, the US has built a “temporary pier” off the Gaza coast to receive aid by sea – at a cost of at least $320 million – and has, along with other countries, airdropped packages of aid into Gaza – a practice that has caused over 20 Palestinian deaths due to malfunction.
The Biden administration has so far not used its leverage as the provider of billions of dollars in military aid to and for Israel (with one exception), a move that could potentially end the war in short order.

West Bank: Israeli airstrike kills one in Jenin refugee camp

WAFA reports: At least one Palestinian was killed and several others injured Friday night in an Israeli airstrike targeting a house in Jenin refugee camp, north of the occupied West Bank.

Wesam Bakr, the director of the Jenin Governmental Hospital, identified the young man killed as Islam Khamayseh.

The Israeli airstrike also destroyed the targeted house, leveling it to the ground, and caused damage to neighboring homes, properties, and infrastructure.

Israeli airstrikes target the Palestinian city of Jenin
Israeli airstrikes target the Palestinian city of Jenin (photo)

West Bank: Palestinian Dies From Previous Wounds Near Nablus

IMEMC reports: A Palestinian young man died, on Friday, eleven days after Israeli soldiers shot and critically injured him in the town of Beit Furik, southeast of Nablus in the northern West Bank.

On Friday afternoon, a Palestinian young man succumbed to critical injuries he sustained during a previous Israeli army incursion into the northern West Bank town of Beit Furik, southeast of Nablus.

According to medical sources at the An-Najah University Hospital in Nablus, announced that the young man, Laith Nadeem Hanani, 20, succumbed as a result of a critical gunshot wound inflicted on him by the occupation forces on May 6, 2024.

Israeli military govt in Gaza would cost about $5.5bn per year: Report

Al Jazeera reports: Senior security officials have been told that maintaining an Israeli military government in Gaza would cost about 20 billion shekels (about $5.5bn) per year, the Ynet news site reports.

Citing a copy of a report provided to Israeli security officials, Ynet said that Israel will also need to pay an undetermined amount to rebuild infrastructure and housing in the besieged enclave, after months of relentless bombardment.

Five Israeli military units would also need to stay in Gaza, while about 400 people would be needed to staff the military government, according to the report.

Palestinian youth collect cardboard and wooden pallets in Beit Lahya in the northern Gaza Strip on May 4, 2024
Palestinian youth collect cardboard and wooden pallets in Beit Lahya in the northern Gaza Strip on May 4, 2024 (photo)

University of California academics authorize strike for Gaza

A union representing 48,000 graduate students and other academics at the University of California have announced that it will strike on Monday to defend the right to free speech and divest from Israel’s war on Gaza.

This comes after the union voted to authorize a strike this week, with 79 percent approving it.

The University, however, filed a labour complaint to stop what they say is an illegal action.


Al Jazeera: As Israel attacked Gaza’s north, 26 members of his family were wiped out
+972 Magazine: ‘You could be looking at the last surviving works by Gaza’s artists’
Middle East Monitor: How Israel is carving up and ‘reoccupying’ Gaza
Andalou Agency: Why Israel should face an Olympics boycott like apartheid South Africa
IMEMC Reports

Palestinian death toll from October 7 – May 17: at least 35,898* (35,386 in Gaza* – 4,959 women (20%), 7,797 children (32%) identified – and at least 512 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 17: at least 84,406 (including at least 79,366 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 17: ~1,433 (~1,139 on October 7, 2023, of which ~32 were Americans, and ~36 were children); 279 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.

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