May 22, 2024

South Africa has asked the United Nations’ highest court to issue emergency orders for Israel to stop what it called the “genocidal starvation” of the Palestinian people, citing U.N. warnings that Gaza was at risk of imminent famine.

The request on Wednesday to the International Court of Justice in The Hague was part of a case that South Africa filed in December charging Israel with genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. Israel has strenuously denied the genocide allegation, and on Thursday its foreign ministry called on the court to reject South Africa’s latest request.

“South Africa continues to act as the legal arm of Hamas in an attempt to undermine Israel’s inherent right to defend itself and its citizens, and to release all of the hostages,” Lior Haiat, a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, said on social media.

It was not immediately clear when the court would respond to the request. In January, in an initial ruling in the broader genocide case, the court ordered that Israel should act to prevent its troops from committing genocide in Gaza and to increase the amount of humanitarian aid reaching the territory’s civilians.

Last month, South Africa asked the court to issue an emergency order to stop Israel from sending troops into the southern Gaza city of Rafah. The court did not do so, but said Israel must abide by its initial order to prevent genocide.

The judges of the World Court, as it is also known, have not ruled on the core question of whether a genocide is taking place in Gaza, a complex charge that they are likely to take months or years to decide. For now, they have ordered a series of measures, which amount to temporary injunctions, aimed at protecting Palestinian civilians because they found the dangers of genocide “plausible.”

We are having trouble retrieving the article content.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.


Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.


Thank you for your patience while we verify access.

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Want all of The Times? Subscribe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *