Israel must obey UN court on Rafah, says EU foreign policy chief

by IANS |

Brussels, May 25 (IANS/DPA) A UN court order for Israel to stop its military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah must be obeyed, the European Union's foreign affairs chief said on Saturday.


"We take note of the order" handed down to Israel, Josep Borrell said on X. "ICJ (International Court of Justice) orders are binding on the Parties, and they have to be fully and effectively implemented."


The ICJ - the UN's top court based in the Dutch city of The Hague - on Friday ordered Israel to immediately cease its attack on the city.


The operation is officially directed at the Palestinian militant group Hamas but is also inflicting huge suffering on thousands of civilians caught in the city.


According to the judges, the humanitarian situation in Rafah is now "disastrous." Further measures are necessary to prevent further harm to the civilian population, they added.


In his post, Borrell highlighted the court order for Israel to "maintain the Rafah crossing open for humanitarian assistance."


Israel on Friday responded to the court's ruling by insisting its actions in Rafah were part of a "defensive and just war" following the October 7 terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas.


In a joint statement, the head of Israel's National Security Council and a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the country "has not and will not conduct military actions in the Rafah area which may inflict on the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part."


"The charges of genocide brought by South Africa against Israel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague are false, outrageous and morally repugnant," the statement added.

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