In the ongoing genocide case against Israel, the International Court of Justice has ordered the country to quickly allow significantly more aid supplies to be delivered to the Gaza Strip. A famine must be avoided. The United Nations’ highest court in The Hague ordered that more border crossings should be opened for the transport of food and medical aid.

The court thus accepted a request from South Africa. His decisions are binding. Israel must now report to the court within a month what measures it is taking to implement it.

At the end of January, the court had already ordered emergency measures and ordered Israel to do everything possible to prevent genocide in the Gaza Strip. Given the deteriorating situation in the war zone and the threat of famine, South Africa had called for additional measures. The court now agreed with this.

Catastrophic living conditions and hunger crisis in the Gaza Strip

Since the January 26 decision, the “catastrophic living conditions of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have continued to deteriorate,” the decision states. The judges particularly mention the hunger crisis. There is no longer just a risk of famine, but famine has already begun. The court also cited a UN report that at least 31 people, including 27 children, have died from malnutrition and dehydration.

Israel must work closely with the United Nations to deliver aid, the court decision continues. The judges also include water, electricity, clothing and tents among the urgently needed relief supplies.

Israel had rejected South Africa’s allegations: deliveries of humanitarian aid would not be blocked. But the judges did not follow this representation.

Court urges Israel to respect Palestinian rights

The court urged Israel to ensure that soldiers do not violate the rights of Palestinians, a population protected by the Genocide Convention. This also includes preventing the delivery of urgently needed relief supplies.

The Gaza war was triggered by the unprecedented massacre with more than 1,200 deaths that terrorists from Hamas and other Islamist groups carried out in Israel on October 7th last year.

Israel responded with massive air strikes and a ground offensive. In view of the high number of civilian casualties and the catastrophic situation in the Gaza Strip, Israel is increasingly criticized internationally.

Genocide allegations and ongoing proceedings

South Africa had taken Israel to court, accusing the country of violating the Genocide Convention. Israel had firmly rejected the allegations. The main proceedings in this matter have not yet begun. Initially, South Africa demanded so-called emergency measures from the court. And they have now been further tightened. It is unclear when the main proceedings will begin.

The court itself has no way of forcing its decisions to be enforced. But if this is violated, international pressure on Israel can increase even further.