ICJ Orders Israel to Halt Rafah Offensive; Rally at Spanish Embassy in Tel Aviv

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) orders today (Friday) afternoon Israel to halt military operations in Rafah, Israel “must immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” states the ruling, read out by the court’s president, Nawaf Salam.

Protesters from Partnership for Peace rally outside the Spanish embassy in Tel Aviv to celebrate Madrid recognition of the State of Palestine, May 24, 2024 (Photo: Zo Haderech)

Judge Georg Nolte adopt this rule, “The measure obliging Israel to halt the current military offensive in Rafah is conditioned by the need to prevent conditions of life that could bring about [the] physical destruction in whole or in part’ of the Palestinian group in Gaza,” he writes in a declaration included in the full ruling.

All measures were agreed upon in a vote of 13-2. The two votes against each measure were Julia Sebutinde, Uganda’s representative to the International Court of Justice, and Aharon Barak, former Israeli High Court President and Israel’s appointee to the ICJ Panel.

Hadash front calls on the far-right Israeli government to adhere to the ICJ ruling. “The Israeli government must accept the verdict and stop the operation in Rafah immediately. But this is not enough – it must act to end the entire war and a hostage/prisoner exchange agreement that will result in a lasting and permanent ceasefire,” the front says in a statement. The international community must “act against Israel as a criminal state, and must immediately recognize an independent Palestinian state,” adds.

On Friday morning, dozens of Partnership for Peace activists, among them Combatants for Peace, Hadash and the Young Communist League of Israel members gather outside the Spanish embassy in central Tel Aviv to congratulate the country on its recognition of the State of Palestine.

Protesters carry signs and chant in Hebrew, Arabic, English, Irish, Portuguese and Spanish, calling on other European countries to “stop considering – recognize” an independent Palestinian state. Spain’s recognition of Palestinian statehood, announced earlier this week in tandem with the governments of Norway and Ireland, is set to take effect May 28. The rally ends with a chorus of “El pueblo unido jamás será vencido” (“the people united will never be defeated”), a Spanish-language Chilean protest song.

In response to Spain’s recognition of a Palestinian state, The Israeli Foreign Minister, Yisrael Katz, has decided on Friday to sever the connection between Spain’s representation in Israel and the Palestinians, and to prohibit the Spanish consulate in occupied East Jerusalem from providing services to Palestinians from the West Bank, said a post on the minister’s X account.

This arbitrary measure comes in the context of threats made by Israeli officials in response to the recognition of the State of Palestine by the three European countries. On Wednesday, Katz ordered the immediate recall of Israeli ambassadors to Ireland, Norway, and Spain and their immediate return to Israel in response to the countries’ decision to recognize the State of Palestine.

Related: https://maki.org.il/en/?p=31868