By Charlie Kimber
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ICJ court’s new ruling isolates Israel even more

The United Nations court said Israel must halt its offensive on Rafah in southern Gaza
Issue 2907
Israel's prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu illustrating a story about the ICJ and Israel

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has suffered another blow with the ICJ ruling (Picture: Flickr/ World Economic Forum Jolanda Flubacher)

In a crushing blow to Israel and its partners in genocide, the United Nations (UN) top court ordered Israel on Friday to halt its military assault on Rafah.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) president Nawaf Salam said provisional measures ordered by the court in March were not enough. He said it was issuing a new emergency order that “Israel must immediately halt its military offensive” in Rafah in southern Gaza.

The millions who took to the streets, the students in the encampments and those who took direct action against the arms firms were always right.

But now they are vindicated by bodies that generally side with the established imperialist order.

Those, for example, who demand their universities break with Israel are not vile antisemites as Tory Michael Gove suggested this week. They are reflecting the views of billions of people. They are part of protests that forced the court to act.

The ICJ action came four days after the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, a separate organisation, said he was seeking arrest warrants for Israeli officials for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and his defence minister, Yoav Gallant.

Where do Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer now stand? They are revealed as the friends of murderers, international pariahs and defenders of the indefensible.

The South African government, which began the process at the ICJ, welcomed the ruling as “ground breaking”. It added, “This order is binding and Israel has to adhere to it”.

South Africa’s wider case at the ICJ accuses Israel of orchestrating a state-led genocide against the Palestinian people. The ICJ has not fully ruled on that—it could take years—but it suggested there was a strong case to uphold it.

In previous rulings, the court ordered Israel to prevent acts of genocide against the Palestinians and allow aid to flow into Gaza. But it stopped short of ordering a halt to Israeli military operations.

Israel now stands virtually alone. Even the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said on Friday that the EU has to choose between respecting support for global authorities or backing Israel.

“What is going to be the answer to the ruling of the International Court of Justice that has been issued today, what is going to be our position. We will have to choose between our support to international institutions of the rule of law or our support to Israel,” he said.

Israel replied with more threats to exterminate Palestinians and wild slurs of antisemitism. It increased airstrikes on Rafah after then court verdict.

An Israeli government spokesperson said on the eve of Friday’s decision that “no power on Earth will stop Israel from protecting its citizens and going after Hamas”.

After the court ruling, Israel’s far right finance minister Bezalel Smotrich said those who demand that Israel stop the war are “demanding that it should decide to cease to exist”. “Israel will not agree to that,” he said.

Another Israeli minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, said, “The order of the antisemitic court should have only one answer—the occupation of Rafah, the increase of military pressure and the crushing of Hamas, until the complete victory in the war is achieved.”

Hamas welcomed the ICJ decision, but said it did not go far enough and urged an end to Israel’s offensive on all of Gaza.

International law and UN bodies will not liberate the Palestinians. The best response to the ICJ ruling is to redouble the solidarity with Palestine and back the Palestinian resistance.

Trade unionists must demand their leaders, who’ve sat on the sidelines or abandoned the Palestinians, now hurl themselves into building support for the national demonstration in London on 8 June.

They must call for an end to campaigning for Starmer and not a penny for a Labour Party that clings to the blood-soaked Israeli regime.

  • A jury on Friday found two Palestine Action activists not guilty of criminal damage as they had acted to save lives. The trial was in response to the six-day rooftop occupation of Leicester’s Elbit Israeli drone factory in May 2021.
  • Saturday 8 June, Palestine national demo. 12noon, central London  
  • Sunday 9 June, Stop The War trade union conference 10.30am-4.30pm @ ITF House, 49-60 Borough Road, London, SE1 1DR

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