‘Clear and Consistent Position’ – White House’s Brief Response to ICJ Ruling on Rafah


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The ICJ has ordered Israel to immediately halt its military offensive in Rafah and allow for the unhindered provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance.

The White House has said its position on Israel’s invasion of Rafah was “clear and consistent,” after Friday’s ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordering Tel Aviv to halt its offensive in the southern Gazan town immediately.

“We’ve been clear and consistent on our position on Rafah,” an unnamed White House National Security spokesperson is quoted as saying by media outlets.

The White House’s brief comment is the first reaction from the Biden administration following the order by the UN’s highest court, reported the Anadolu news agency, saying the spokesperson spoke “on condition of anonymity.”

International Court of Justice Orders Immediate Halt of Israel’s Operation in Rafah – BREAKING

In its ruling, the ICJ ordered Israel to: “immediately halt its military offensive” in Rafah; open the Rafah crossing “for unhindered provision” of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance; and ensure “the unimpeded access to the Gaza Strip of any commission of inquiry, fact-finding mission or other investigative body mandated by competent organs of the United Nations to investigate allegations of genocide.”

Israel was also ordered to submit a report to the Court on all measures taken to give effect to the ruling, within one month.

‘Groundbreaking Ruling’ – South Africa

The South African government, which requested the additional provisional measures in its ongoing case of genocide against Israel, welcomed the ruling, saying it was “groundbreaking.”

“This order is groundbreaking as it is the first time that explicit mention is made for Israel to halt its military action in any area of Gaza, this time specifically in Rafah,” said Zane Dangor, Director-General of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).

“While legally the court cannot use the term ceasefire, as well we could not call for the term ceasefire, this is de facto calling for a ceasefire. It is ordering the major party in this conflict to end its belligerent action against the people of Palestine. This is a groundbreaking decision by the court,” Dangor emphasized.

‘Groundbreaking’ – South Africa Welcomes ICJ Ruling on Rafah, Other Reactions

South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, reiterated that his government was “gravely concerned that Israel has restricted necessary levels of aid from entering Gaza and has systematically targeted aid and aid infrastructure within Gaza.”

“This case is thus focused on the ordinary Palestinians in Gaza who are now facing their seventh month of suffering through collective punishment for something for which they have no individual responsibility,” he said.

‘False, Outrageous’ – Israel

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry issued a joint statement saying South Africa’s “accusations against Israel” at the ICJ were “false, outrageous and disgusting.”

“Israel has not and will not carry out a military campaign in the Rafah area that creates living conditions that could lead to the destruction of the Palestinian civilian population, in whole or in part,” the statement said.

The Resistance Movement Hamas welcomed the ruling but stressed that ‘We had expected the International Court of Justice to issue a decision to stop the aggression and genocide against our people throughout the entire Gaza Strip, not just in Rafah.”

“What is happening in Jabaliya and other governorates of the Strip is no less criminal and dangerous than what is happening in Rafah,” the movement said in a statement.

Hamas called on the international community and the United Nations to pressure Israel “to immediately comply with this decision and to seriously and genuinely proceed in translating all UN resolutions that force the zionist occupation army to stop the genocide it has been committing against our people for more than seven months.”

‘Exceptionally Grave’

The ICJ said the military ground offensive in Rafah, “which Israel started on 7 May 2024”, is still ongoing and has led to new evacuation orders.

As a result, according to United Nations reports, nearly 800,000 people have been displaced from Rafah, as of 18 May 2024, the Court said, adding that it considered “that these developments are exceptionally grave.”

In addition, the Court said it was “not convinced that the evacuation efforts and related measures that Israel affirms to have undertaken to enhance the security of civilians in the Gaza Strip, and in particular those recently displaced from the Rafah Governorate, are sufficient to alleviate the immense risk to which the Palestinian population is exposed as a result of the military offensive in Rafah.”

Following the ICJ ruling, Israel continued to carry out airstrikes on residential areas in eastern and southern Rafah. Israeli forces also targeted the vicinity of the Kuwait Specialized Hospital in the center of the city, according to the official Resistance News Network (RNN).

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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