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Israel Urges World Court to Reject South Africa’s Rafah Request

Israel fiercely criticized South Africa’s plea to the World Court this week for more emergency measures to protect the rights of Palestinian citizens in Rafah.

It accused Pretoria of “representing the interests of Hamas” and attempting to deny Israel “the fundamental right to defend itself.”

Israel petitioned the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to deny the appeal on Thursday, stating that the emergency measures ordered by the court three weeks ago already addressed the “situation of hostilities in Gaza as a whole”.

Last month, in a case brought by South Africa, the court ordered Israel to take all steps possible to prevent its troops from committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

In a filing to the ICJ on Tuesday, South Africa stated that there had been a “significant development” since the January ruling, when Israel revealed its intention to escalate its ground offensive into Rafah.

Israel’s planned operation on the southern city has drawn rising international condemnation, with the United Nations warning that it will have disastrous consequences for Palestinians.

Over a million people have fled to Rafah as Israel destroyed much of the remainder of the Palestinian enclave during its four-month battle against the insurgent group Hamas.

Despite urging from foreign governments and relief agencies to refrain from extending ground operations into Rafah, Israel insists on advancing inside the city to eradicate Hamas battalions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday that he has directed the military to devise a secondary strategy to remove civilians from the city.

However, it is unclear where such a big number of refugees could go, as they are forced up against the Egyptian border and sheltering in homemade tents.

It is unclear when the ICJ will rule on South Africa’s most recent request.

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