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Can the world’s top court stop Israel’s offensive in Rafah?

In World
May 19, 2024

Israel refutes South Africa’s accusation that its Gaza military campaign is a genocidal act against Palestinians.

In its latest appeal, South Africa has called on the United Nations’s top court for urgent measures to order a halt to Israel’s assault on Rafah.

Since early this month, Israeli forces have been pounding the southern city where more than 1.5 million Palestinians had taken shelter after escaping from other parts of Gaza.

Hundreds of thousands are being forced to flee again. Israel says its operation is limited and aimed at targeting the last stronghold of Hamas in Rafah.

South Africa calls it a genocidal act.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered some provisional measures since South Africa first filed a case in January.

But Israel has largely ignored them.

So can the ICJ enforce its orders? And will its decisions make any difference apart from affecting world opinion?


Elizabeth Puranam


Toby Cadman, international human rights lawyer.

Nour Odeh, political analyst

Robbie Sabel, professor of international law at Hebrew University.

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