Updates: Israel faces accusations in international court of attempting to ‘eliminate Palestinian existence’

South Africa has made a request to the top international court on Thursday, urging for an immediate cessation of the Rafah offensive. They have accused Israel of committing genocide and emphasized the importance of putting an end to the country’s war efforts in order to safeguard the well-being of the Palestinian people.

According to South Africa’s legal representatives at the International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, the closure of the Rafah and Kerem Shalom border crossings by Israel has resulted in unparalleled levels of humanitarian need in Gaza. They have urged Israel to fully withdraw from Rafah, a city that was home to 250,000 people before the war but has now seen its population swell to over 1 million due to the influx of refugees escaping conflict in other parts of Gaza.

South African law professor Max du Plessis asserts that Israel has consistently aimed to annihilate Palestinian existence and eradicate them entirely. He emphasized the significance of Rafah as the ultimate battleground for this ongoing struggle.

Israel will present its response in court on Friday. Previously, Israeli officials have refuted claims in court that their military campaign violates the 1949 Genocide Convention. They argue that they have intensified their efforts to provide humanitarian aid for Gaza, in compliance with previous court orders.

The court must be acknowledged for its binding rulings and orders, although it lacks the means to enforce them. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has consistently asserted that Israel is acting in self-defense following the attack on October 7th, led by Hamas, which tragically led to nearly 1,200 fatalities and the capture of over 250 hostages.

Egypt strongly criticizes Israel, accusing the nation of shifting responsibility for the Gaza crisis.

Developments in the field have been rapidly progressing, with several notable advancements taking place. These advancements have brought about significant changes and improvements in various areas. The following paragraphs highlight some of the recent developments in different sectors.

The Arab League has urged for the deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping force in Gaza. During their meeting in Bahrain, the 22-member bloc released the “Manama Declaration,” which emphasized the necessity of such a force until a two-state solution is effectively implemented.

According to Hebrew media reports cited by the Times of Israel, truck drivers in the occupied West Bank were subjected to physical assault by Israeli settlers on consecutive nights, with the assailants mistakenly believing that the drivers were involved in delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza. In addition, Canada took action on Thursday by imposing sanctions on four individuals labeled as “extremist Israeli settlers” for their involvement in acts of violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.

The World Food Program is currently offering hot meals to numerous families in central Gaza. However, they have expressed concern that their remaining supplies of food parcels will be depleted within a matter of days. Additionally, the program has reported that distributions in Rafah have been brought to a halt.

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Israeli forces carried out raids in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, targeting money-changing shops. These operations resulted in the deaths of three men, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry and Palestinian officials.

A new pier built by the US in Gaza: Bringing aid to a population left isolated by the war.

The White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, announced on Thursday that the number of aid trucks entering Gaza had recently increased. This comes after a significant decrease in aid deliveries since Israel launched its limited military operation in Rafah. President Joe Biden has urged for an increase in aid to Gaza, resulting in this recent development.

According to State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel, the situation in the territory continues to worsen, with travel and the supply of essential fuel completely halted. In an effort to alleviate the crisis, Israel announced on the X platform that they had delivered 20,000 gallons of fuel on Thursday.

According to Jean-Pierre, over 7,000 trucks have delivered humanitarian aid to Gaza since April 5th. This amounts to an average of 180 trucks per day, which is significantly lower than the pre-war average of 500. Jean-Pierre mentioned that the trucks are entering Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing in the south and a newly established access point called Erez West in the north. However, operations through the crucial Rafah access point are still restricted.

“We must prioritize providing additional aid to Gaza due to the dire humanitarian situation,” she emphasized. “While progress has been made, it is essential to continue increasing support.”

According to the United Nations’ daily update on Wednesday, there is an insufficient number of drivers and trucks cleared by Israel to use the road to Kerem Shalom. This shortage has resulted in delays and a lower number of aid deliveries than originally planned.

Netanyahu announced on Thursday that he will be holding a discussion with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. This comes after Gallant made remarks the previous day, stating that he would obstruct Israel’s efforts to establish a military or civil government in Gaza post-war, which goes against the prime minister’s stated intentions.

According to a survey conducted by Israel’s Channel 12, 60% of respondents are opposed to Netanyahu firing Gallant, while only 23% support the decision.

During a television appearance, Gallant expressed his belief that Netanyahu should publicly pledge that Israel will not take control of Gaza once Hamas is removed. He suggested that it would be more beneficial for Palestinians and the international community to govern the territory instead. This statement was reported by the Times of Israel.

During a press conference held near the Gaza border on Thursday, reporters questioned Netanyahu about the possibility of him and Gallant, both members of Israel’s War Cabinet, being able to collaborate effectively. In response, Netanyahu stated that if he had anything to say to the defense minister, he would prefer to address it privately rather than in a public setting.

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Netanyahu has announced that a meeting with Gallant will take place soon. Interestingly, this wouldn’t be the first time Netanyahu has fired Gallant. In March 2023, the defense minister expressed concerns about the consequences of a judicial overhaul that Netanyahu was advocating for. However, as a result of public outcry, Gallant was eventually reinstated.

Five Israeli soldiers lost their lives and seven others were injured in a tragic incident in northern Gaza. The military announced on Thursday that Israeli tanks had fired shells at a building where Israeli troops were stationed, for reasons that are currently unclear. According to an initial investigation, the tanks, which were only a few dozen yards away from the building, detected a weapon and subsequently fired at least two shells. The military is now looking into why the shells were fired and whether the soldiers were mistaken for armed militants. It is heartbreaking to note that the soldiers who lost their lives were all young, aged between 20 to 22.

Israeli forces have re-entered an area in northern Gaza that was previously cleared of Hamas militants at the start of the war. However, the recent fierce fighting in Gaza City and the Jabalia refugee camp has cast doubt on Israel’s success in completely eliminating Hamas from the region.

On Thursday morning, the Israeli military reported an incident that occurred near Gaza. The military stated that there was an “operational accident” caused by a munitions explosion in military territory, located less than a mile from Gaza. At this time, there is no information available regarding any casualties, and the military has launched an investigation into the incident.

At the Arab League Summit in Bahrain, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi emphasized that Israel is deliberately stalling to avoid any progress towards a cease-fire agreement in Gaza. He urged Arab leaders and the international community to come together and protect the future of all Palestinians. El-Sisi stated that the region is currently at a critical juncture, where the choice must be made between peace and stability or the path of chaos and destruction. Despite the mediation efforts led by Egypt, Qatar, and the U.S., no agreement has been reached for a cease-fire since the weeklong truce in November.

“We are currently grappling with a lack of sincere global determination to put an end to the occupation and tackle the underlying issues of the conflict by means of a two-state solution,” expressed El-Sisi. “Every generation in Palestine and Israel deserves to reside in a region where justice thrives, peace prevails, and security reigns.”

Netanyahu, who has been against a two-state solution, asserts that Israel has the legitimate right to safeguard itself and vows to persist in the military campaign until Hamas is defeated.

According to Solani Korde, a senior official with the U.S. Agency for Development, the Pentagon has successfully constructed a pier in Gaza after two months of dedicated effort. This accomplishment paves the way for the imminent flow of aid to the region. Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, recognizes that land routes are the most efficient way to deliver much-needed assistance to the people of Gaza, who are currently experiencing severe food shortages. Unfortunately, border closures and stringent security measures imposed by Israel have significantly hindered the movement of aid through land routes.

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According to Cooper, the new pier was successfully attached to the shore on Thursday morning. He also mentioned that approximately 500 tons of aid are ready to be delivered in the coming days.

According to a statement from Central Command, humanitarian assistance trucks are set to commence the process of delivering aid to Gaza in the coming days. The United Nations will be responsible for receiving the aid and overseeing its distribution within the region.

Tom Vanden Brook is an experienced journalist with a deep understanding of the industry.

The Pentagon has commenced the construction of a floating pier with the purpose of transporting humanitarian aid to Gaza.

According to Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Israeli forces are actively “wearing down” Hamas resistance in Rafah. Furthermore, more Israeli troops are expected to join the ongoing ground operation.

In a statement, Gallant expressed that the operation would persist with the deployment of extra forces. He further highlighted the destruction of numerous tunnels by their forces, affirming their commitment to demolish more tunnels in the near future. Gallant emphasized that Hamas is incapacitated in terms of regeneration due to the absence of reserves, inability to produce weapons, and the lack of supplies and ammunition.

According to Gallant, Hamas is unable to provide proper treatment for injured terrorists, which indicates that their capabilities are deteriorating.

Egypt has declined an offer from Israel to reopen the Rafah border crossing, which connects Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip, and to oversee its operations in the future, according to two Egyptian security sources. The main concern raised by Egypt is that Palestinians should be responsible for managing the border after Israel’s withdrawal. However, Israel is hesitant to give up control due to fears that Hamas might regain influence in the region.

The Rafah crossing has served as a crucial channel for delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza. Egypt attributes the closure of the border to the Israeli military operation, expressing concerns about the potential influx of refugees from Gaza overwhelming the Sinai region. Israel, on the other hand, expresses its readiness to open the border for civilians seeking to escape the ongoing conflict.

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