Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Egypt to join South Africa’s ICJ genocide case against Israel

FILE PHOTO: Judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rule on emergency measures against Israel following accusations by South Africa that the Israeli military operation in Gaza is a state-led genocide, in The Hague, Netherlands, January 26, 2024. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo

Egypt on Sunday said it will formally join the lawsuit filed by South Africa against Israel at the International Court of Justice which accuses Israel of violating its obligations under the Genocide Convention in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Egypt said the move comes due to the escalating Israeli aggression against Palestinian civilians.

Alon Liel, Israel’s former foreign minister said that the sudden move of Cairo represents an ‘unbelievable diplomatic blow to Israel’.

On May 10, South Africa submitted an urgent request for the indication of additional provisional measures and the modification of previous provisional measures indicated by the ICJ in the case. South Africa in January asked the World Court to declare that Israel was committing genocide in Gaza and to order Israel to stop its military campaign in Gaza. The court instead issued a general order that Israel must make sure it prevents acts of genocide.

The announcement was made after Israel this week defied international outrage by entering eastern areas of Rafah, which borders Egypt and seized the nearby crossing into Egypt that is the main conduit for aid into the besieged Palestinian territory.

“[It] comes in light of the worsening severity and scope of Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, and the continued perpetration of systematic practices against the Palestinian people, including direct targeting of civilians and the destruction of infrastructure in the Strip, and pushing Palestinians to flee,” the ministry said.

In March, ICJ judges unanimously ordered Israel to take all necessary and effective action to ensure basic food supplies and aid arrive without delay to Palestinians in Gaza. Egypt had earlier joined the request for an advisory opinion from the ICJ on the legality of Israel’s actions in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.

It submitted a memorandum to the ICJ and made an oral argument on 21 February, asserting the court’s authority to issue the advisory opinion.

Egypt said it is calling on Israel to comply with its obligations as the occupying power and to implement the provisional measures issued by the ICJ, which require ensuring access to humanitarian and relief aid in a manner that meets the needs of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

In the statement, Egypt renewed its call to the UN Security Council and international parties to immediately take action to achieve a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and to stop military operations in Rafah, as well as to provide the necessary protection for Palestinian civilians.

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