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Gaza And Rafah, See Continues Bombing By Israel Despite ICJ Ruling; Rights Groups Demand Biden Halt Israel Arms Transfers After ICJ Ruling, US Senator Lindsey Graham States “ICJ can go to hell”

Even in the face of international legal condemnation, and despite a recent ruling from ICJ, Israel has continued its intense military operations in Rafah, Gaza. In the face of escalating conflict in Gaza, President Joe Biden has faced increasing pressure to respond decisively. Although publicly opposing Israel's offensive in Rafah and suspending one weapons shipment to the country, Biden's stance on military assistance to Israel remains a focal point of scrutiny for international watchers. Meanwhile, rights groups continue to advocate for the suspension of arms transfers to Israel, citing the United Nations' recent court ruling demanding an immediate halt to Israel's ground offensive and the urgent need for humanitarian aid in Gaza.

Israel is not paying heed and ignoring the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) order to halt military operations in the area and has persisted with its relentless assaults on Rafah.

Reports of multiple deaths have emerged from central and northern Gaza, which have also experienced renewed attacks even as the Shaboura camp and areas near the Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah were targeted on Saturday. 

Several injured individuals have been transported to the hospital, which has renewed its urgent call for fuel deliveries to maintain operations, noting it is the only hospital in Rafah governorate still accepting patients.

Israel, ICJ, Joe Biden, rafahIsrael, In No Mood To Stop

The ICJ’s ruling, the third this year, commanded Israel to stop its offensive, highlighting the “immense risk” to approximately 1.4 million Palestinians seeking refuge in Rafah, the southernmost part of Gaza. 

Since Israel’s offensive began on May 7, over 800,000 Palestinians have been displaced from Rafah.

The UN’s highest Court is aiming to curb the rising death toll among Palestinians since October and to mitigate the ongoing humanitarian crisis caused by internal displacement and severe food shortages affecting most of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents. 

Nearly 36,000 Palestinians have been killed, and extensive areas of Gaza have been devastated by Israeli carpet bombing.

Despite this, Israel has shown no signs of changing its approach, instead Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the ICJ ruling and dismissed the genocide charges brought by South Africa as “false, outrageous, and morally repugnant.”

Can Sanctions Stop Israel

On Saturday, the UN special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories called for sanctions against Israel for defying the court order.

“Israel will not stop this madness unless WE make it stop. Member states must impose sanctions, arms embargoes, and suspend diplomatic/political relations with Israel until it ceases its assault,” Francesca Albanese posted on X.

Instead, Israel has intensified its assaults in northern Gaza, striking a school sheltering displaced individuals in the as-Saftawi neighborhood within the Jabalia refugee camp. 

The Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that at least 10 people were killed and 17 others injured in these attacks on the area just south of Jabalia. The escalation has forced already displaced residents to flee once again.

Israeli warplanes also targeted a house in Beit Hanoun, another city in northern Gaza, resulting in the deaths of 10 people, including women and children, as reported by Wafa.

In Gaza City, an Israeli attack on a family home in the Sabra neighborhood killed a woman and injured several others. 

Additionally, an unspecified number of casualties were reported from an Israeli airstrike on a residential building in the Daraj neighborhood, according to Wafa. 

Other neighborhoods in Gaza City, such as Sheikh Ajlin, Tal al-Hawa, and Zeitoun, were subjected to heavy artillery shelling, though no immediate details on casualties were available.

Stepping Up The Offence

Even as the death toll continues to rise in northern Gaza, Israeli forces were said to have surrounded Kamal Adwan Hospital, according to Dr Hussam Abu Safiya, head of the paediatrics department. 

He stated that the hospital is unable to treat incoming patients due to the ongoing siege, and some patients, including premature babies, remain inside the hospital.

Dr. Abu Safiya reported contacting the Red Cross and UNICEF but received no assurance of any action to lift the Israeli siege of the hospital.

Deaths Continue In Wadi Gaza

Meanwhile, Israeli quadcopters fired on Palestinians gathered in Wadi Gaza, resulting in at least six deaths. 

Palestinians, desperate for aid, often congregate in Wadi Gaza to access aid trucks arriving from the floating pier near Gaza City. However, videos shared on social media on Saturday showed that part of this floating pier, constructed by the US, has been washed away.

In central Gaza, an Israeli airstrike on an apartment building in the Nuseirat refugee camp killed at least four people.

Israeli forces have also taken control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, further delaying the sporadic delivery of aid to Gaza’s 2.3 million residents. 

Earlier this week, the UN refugee agency for Palestinians announced it would suspend food distribution in Rafah due to supply shortages and the lack of security in the densely populated city.

On Friday, UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths posted on social media site X that the situation had reached “a moment of clarity.” He emphasized the critical need to heed calls made over the past seven months: “Release the hostages. Agree to a ceasefire. End this nightmare.”

Rights Groups Demand Biden Halt Israel Arms Transfers After ICJ Ruling

Meanwhile, as Israel continues to pound Gaza, Rights groups have renewed their calls for US President Joe Biden to halt weapons transfers to Israel following the United Nations’ top Court’s order for Israel to immediately stop its ground offensive in Rafah and allow aid into the area.

The United States has faced mounting pressure to suspend military assistance to Israel as the Palestinian death toll in the Gaza Strip continues to rise and the humanitarian crisis deepens. 

Biden has publicly opposed Israel’s offensive in Rafah, where the majority of Gaza’s displaced residents have gathered, and his administration has suspended one shipment of weapons to Israel due to these concerns.

Despite indicating in early May a willingness to withhold additional weapons if Israel pursued a large-scale operation in Rafah, President Biden has largely refrained from leveraging such measures as Israeli leaders rebuffed Washington’s warnings.

On Friday, Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of Democracy for the Arab World Now, asserted that the International Court of Justice’s directive “leaves no room for doubt about the subsequent steps: an arms embargo on Israel.” 

She emphasized that continuous US arms transfers to Israel would constitute a deliberate violation of the Court’s orders, implicating the US government in complicity with genocide.

Citing the “immense risk” to Palestinians in Gaza, the ICJ stated that Israel must “immediately cease its military offensive, and any other activities in the Rafah Governorate, that could lead to conditions of life in Gaza that might result in its complete or partial destruction.”

Balkees Jarrah, Associate Director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch, remarked that the Court’s provisional ruling offers a prospect for relief for the people of Rafah. 

However, she emphasized that this relief could only materialize if governments employ their leverage, including through arms embargoes and targeted sanctions, to compel Israel to urgently comply with the Court’s measures.

Rights observers also emphasised that the ruling establishes a basis for the UN Security Council to take more decisive action against Israel. 

The United States, possessing veto power as one of the council’s five permanent members, has consistently shielded Israel from Security Council intervention since the onset of the Gaza conflict in early October.

Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man, Director of Israel-Palestine Research at DAWN, asserted that the ICJ’s ruling should prompt the US to endorse any UNSC measures aimed at enforcing the Court’s order. 

He warned that if it fails to do so, the US could appear before the entire world as the enabler of Israeli impunity.

Nihad Awad, National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, urged President Biden to uphold the ICJ’s ruling by promptly terminating all military assistance to Israel, characterizing Israel’s actions as an attempt to render Gaza uninhabitable and emphasizing the imperative to prevent this “monstrous goal.”

Bipartisan Support for Israel

Israel maintains broad support among senior officials in the Biden administration, including President Biden himself, as well as lawmakers from both major political parties.

However, an increasing number of legislators in Washington, DC, have called for greater scrutiny regarding whether Israel is utilizing American weaponry in Gaza in contravention of US and international laws.

The bombardment of Gaza by Israel has resulted in the deaths of over 35,500 Palestinians, predominantly women and children, worsening dire shortages of humanitarian aid and pushing Palestinians to the brink of starvation.

US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a member of the Democratic Party, questioned President Biden’s stance on the issue, stating, “The entire world is taking action to halt the genocide of Palestinians, including the International Court of Justice. Where is President Biden’s ‘red line’?”

Earlier this month, the US Department of State released a report indicating it was “reasonable to assess” that Israeli forces had employed US weaponry in Gaza in violation of international humanitarian law. 

Despite this, the report suggested that such actions did not necessarily undermine Israel’s overall commitment to these standards, and consequently, the US could continue providing weapons to Israel.

The Biden administration refrained from immediate comment on the ICJ’s order or renewed appeals to suspend weapons transfers to Israel. However, the Court’s ruling presents a dilemma for the US government, noting its alignment with Biden’s recent positions. 

He emphasized that the Biden administration has consistently advocated for the opening of the Rafah crossing and expressed opposition to a military offensive in Rafah.

Nevertheless, prominent Republican lawmakers swiftly denounced the ICJ’s order on Friday, with some urging Biden to reject endeavors to compel Israel to comply with the decision.

Steve Scalise, the second-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, criticized the ICJ, labeling its decision as biased against Israel. He called on Biden to vow to veto any UN Security Council resolution aimed at enforcing the decision.

Similarly, US Senator Lindsey Graham dismissed the ICJ’s ruling, asserting that it is time to confront international justice organizations associated with the UN, which he claims exhibit overwhelming bias against Israel.

Graham and other US lawmakers have urged the Biden administration to impose sanctions against the International Criminal Court (ICC) following the prosecutor’s request for arrest warrants for senior Israeli leaders over alleged war crimes in Gaza. 

Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have strongly criticized the prosecutor’s move, with Blinken hinting at potential collaboration with Congress on legislation to penalize the ICC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

naveenika
naveenika
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