April 19, 2024

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The International Court of Justice orders Israel to ensure the entry of “urgent humanitarian aid” into Gaza

The International Court of Justice orders Israel to ensure the entry of “urgent humanitarian aid” into Gaza

On Thursday, the International Court of Justice called on Israel to ensure the delivery of “urgent humanitarian aid” without delay to the Gaza Strip, which was devastated by the six-month war between Israel and Hamas.

The conflict, which began after an attack by the Islamic Movement in Israel on October 7, has left the narrow region in ruins and its 2.4 million residents on the brink of famine, according to the United Nations.

Israel must take all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay, the unhindered delivery of “essential services and urgent humanitarian aid” to Gaza, the UN’s highest court, based in The Hague, declared.

Following a lawsuit filed by South Africa, the International Court of Justice in January called on Israel to prevent any act of “genocide” in Gaza and allow humanitarian aid to enter. Israel described these accusations as “scandalous.”

The Health Ministry in the narrow enclave, which has been ruled by Hamas since 2007, announced on Thursday that at least 66 people had been killed overnight, most of them in Israeli bombing.

This brings the death toll in Gaza due to the Israeli military attack to 32,552, according to the ministry, which specifies that the majority of those killed are civilians.

Israel vowed to “exterminate” the Islamic movement after the attack that occurred on October 7 in the south of its territory, which led to the killing of at least 1,160 people, most of them civilians, according to a census conducted by Agence France-Presse based on Israeli data.

Islamic fighters also captured about 250 people, 130 of whom are still detained in Gaza, 34 of whom died, according to Israeli authorities.

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“Blindfolded”

Since then the fighting has not stopped. The Israeli army, which accuses Hamas fighters of hiding in hospitals, continues its operation that it began on March 18 in the Shifa Hospital complex in Gaza City, where it claims to have “eliminated about 200 terrorists” in the area.

The army said that Israeli forces “evacuated civilians, patients and medical equipment to alternative medical facilities.”

Karam Ayman Hatat, a 57-year-old Palestinian who lives in a building near the hospital, told AFP, “The Israeli forces forced the men to strip naked and keep only their underwear.”

He added, “I saw others blindfolded and forced to join a tank amid the explosions.”

In Khan Yunis in the south, soldiers are carrying out operations near Al-Nasr and Al-Amal hospitals, located one kilometer away.

The Israeli army said on Thursday that it “eliminated dozens of terrorists in the Hope sector” and added that its forces “found explosive devices and a mortar shell.”

Ghazi Agha, 60, was in a tent in the Nasser Hospital complex when the army asked people there to evacuate the facility.

He said, “They called us through loudspeakers: Get out or we will bomb the buildings. I went out with dozens of people (…), and we heard explosions and gunshots all the time.”

Israel is also planning a ground operation in Rafah, a town in southern Gaza that it considers the last stronghold of Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed: “We control the northern Gaza Strip and Khan Yunis. We cut the Gaza Strip into two parts and are preparing to enter Rafah.”

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Humanitarian situation

Nearly 1.5 million Palestinians live in crowded conditions in this city, the vast majority of whom have been displaced by violence in other parts of the Strip.

The United States, Israel's main ally, fears the human cost of this operation.

The recent adoption of a resolution at the United Nations demanding an “immediate ceasefire,” made possible by a US abstention, has angered the Israeli government.

But a senior American official said on Wednesday that Netanyahu's government is now ready to talk to Washington about the possible attack on Rafah.

For its part, Qatar, which acts as a mediator with Egypt and the United States, confirmed this week that indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas are continuing, with the aim of reaching a truce and exchanging Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners.

The war has caused a humanitarian catastrophe in the small area and ground aid is arriving only in small quantities.

In parallel, several countries are dropping food supplies by parachute, especially in the northern Gaza Strip, where the situation is desperate.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), only 3% of the aid that entered the Palestinian territories between March 18 and 24 reached the north.

Despite “the enormous needs, hostilities and barriers to access continue to undermine efforts to provide vital assistance to civilians,” the UN agency lamented.