Israel requests ICJ reject additional measures over ‘widespread starvation’ in Gaza News
International Court of Justice // Public domain
Israel requests ICJ reject additional measures over ‘widespread starvation’ in Gaza

Israel made a public request to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), released Monday, to reject additional measures filed by South Africa to increase humanitarian aid to Gaza. Israel stated that South Africa “fundamentally” misrepresented the reality or situation on the ground, the root cause of the problems and the efforts already undertaken to address issues.

Attorneys for Israel denied the “outrageous” accusations leveled by South Africa that Israel was manufacturing a health crisis and famine in Gaza. They pointed out the massive logistical challenges of delivering aid inside a war zone with insufficient infrastructure. Israel also accused Hamas of using a human shield strategy to attack Israel while disrupting assistance to Palestinian civilians. The request stated, “Israel has real concern for the humanitarian situation and innocent lives.” Examples of the maritime humanitarian corridor from Cyprus and the aid pier to be constructed by the US were cited.

Israel also questioned the timing of the requested measures, claiming that South Africa was abusing court procedure. South Africa has the ability to modify or add to the provisional measures in a previously issued ICJ order as given in Article 41 of the Statute of the ICJ. Articles 75(1), 75(3) and 76(1) of the Rules of Court also pertain to the court’s ability to modify or add to the provisional measures. However, Israel argued that South Africa submitted urgent requests within a week of its reports, which was not enough time to vet and respond meaningfully, stating:

[i]ndeed, South Africa is engaged in an abusive exploitation of the Court’s procedures. It ignores inconvenient facts and distorts others in an offensive and tendentious manner as request follows request with barely time to draw breath. It apparently hopes that incessant requests will eventually lead the Court to relent and to grant it what it seeks.

The Israeli ICJ request came in response to an urgent request by South Africa on March 6. The South African request stated that “widespread starvation” is a reality in Gaza and necessitated additional ICJ-backed measures to provide assistance. They accused Israel of using humanitarian aid as a “bargaining chip” and creating an environment “hostile” to the UN and other aid agencies.

South Africa has applied for several ICJ rulings against Israel, including allegations of genocide. Israel has denied all genocide charges. However, the ICJ issued an order on February 16 that stated Israel must commit to avoiding genocide in Gaza.