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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Israel will defend itself before ICJ

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue the war until Hamas is defeated and hostages in Gaza are freed, a process he estimates could take several more months.

Israel will defend itself before ICJ

Israel is preparing to defend itself against accusations of genocide in Gaza at the United Nations’ top court, a move rarely seen as Israel often decries the UN as biased against it. South Africa initiated the case at the International Court of Justice, claiming that Israel’s military campaign in Gaza meets the threshold of genocide under international law. Israel, typically dismissive of international cases, is choosing to respond, indicating concerns about potential damage to its reputation. Israeli officials allege that South Africa is providing political and legal cover for an attack by Hamas that triggered the Israeli campaign.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue the war until Hamas is defeated and hostages in Gaza are freed, a process he estimates could take several more months. Despite increasing international pressure to scale back the offensive, heavy fighting persists in parts of Gaza, notably in the southern city of Khan Younis. The conflict, unparalleled in the century-old Mideast conflict, has resulted in nearly 22,000 Palestinian deaths and extensive destruction in the tiny Mediterranean territory. 

Changing US attitude 

The Israeli War Cabinet is scheduled to meet to discuss postwar arrangements for Gaza, a highly divisive issue in the country. Despite repeated U.S. requests, Netanyahu has not presented a plan and rejected proposals suggesting the Palestinian Authority administer Gaza as a precursor to Palestinian statehood.

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On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken intensified his calls for Israel to adhere to international law and take measures to protect civilians during its conflict with Hamas in Gaza. During his third visit to the Middle East since the war’s commencement on October 7, Blinken affirmed the U.S.’s commitment to Israel’s right to self-defense. However, he emphasized the importance of Israel safeguarding civilians, particularly when initiating significant military operations in southern Gaza. This stance reflects a shift in the Biden administration’s language on the conflict, initially fully supporting Israel’s response to Hamas attacks but adjusting as Palestinian civilian casualties increased substantially. The rising death toll and extensive destruction have drawn widespread international criticism, including from members of President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party.