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International Court of Justice ruling unlikely to change Israel’s military strategy in Gaza

NEW DELHI: The recent ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has not prompted any immediate change in Israel’s course regarding its military operations in Gaza. The ruling, which demanded a halt to the operation considered essential by the Israeli government for defeating Hamas and rescuing hostages, has been met with continued military activity.Israeli tanks are advancing towards the center of Rafah, and during the announcement of the ruling, air strikes caused significant destruction in the area.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline colleagues have expressed outrage, accusing the ICJ of antisemitism and bias towards Hamas. The former government spokesman, Eylon Levy, highlighted the nationality of the presiding judge, Nawaf Salam, suggesting his Lebanese background influenced his decision.
For critics of Netanyahu, the ruling underscores Israel’s increasing international isolation. Signs of this include the potential for arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court for Netanyahu and his defense minister, European countries moving towards recognizing Palestine as a state, and the apparent frustration of the Biden administration with Israel’s reluctance to engage in meaningful future plans.
Israel is disappointed that its arguments did not sway the ICJ judges. It maintains that efforts have been made to protect civilians in Rafah and ensure the delivery of food and essential supplies to Gaza. Despite limited aid entering southern Gaza since the offensive began nearly three weeks ago, Israel has permitted the entry of commercial goods, which has kept food available, albeit not necessarily affordable. The feared mass starvation has not occurred, and conditions in northern Gaza might have improved due to the opening of additional crossing points.
However, the ICJ found these measures insufficient, highlighting the ongoing mass displacement as a significant threat to Palestinian lives and wellbeing, necessitating further action. South Africa argued that Rafah is “the last line of defense” for Gaza, warning that its fall could cause irreparable damage to the Palestinian population. This is what the court aims to prevent. Israel insists its operation in the south is not intended to cause such outcomes and appears determined to continue its current strategy.

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