February 26th, 2024

UN court to issue ruling Friday on South Africa’s request for order to halt Israel’s Gaza offensive

By The Associated Press on January 24, 2024.

FILE - View of the Peace Palace which houses World Court in The Hague, Netherlands, on Sept. 19, 2023. Israel is sending top legal minds, including a Holocaust survivor, to The Hague this week to counter allegations that it is committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – The United Nations’ top court will issue a decision Friday on South Africa’s request for interim orders in a genocide case against Israel, including that Israel halt its offensive in Gaza.

The decision is a preliminary stage of a case filed by South Africa at the International Court of Justice alleging that Israel’s military action in its war with Hamas in Gaza amounts to genocide. Israel strongly rejects the accusation and has asked the court to throw out the case.

The court announced the timing of the interim ruling on Wednesday.

Israel launched its massive air and ground assault on Gaza soon after Hamas militants stormed through Israeli communities on Oct. 7 and killed some 1,200 people, mainly civilians.

Israel often boycotts international tribunals and U.N. investigations, saying they are unfair and biased. But the country’s leaders sent a high-level legal team to two days of hearings earlier this month – a sign of how seriously they regard the case and and an indication of likely concerns that any court order to halt operations would be a major blow to the country’s international standing.

If the court grants some or all of South Africa’s eight requests for so-called provisional measures, it is unclear if Israel will comply.

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