The UN High Court has ordered Israel to provide food and medical aid to Gaza

  • By Christy Cooney
  • BBC News

image source, Good pictures

image caption,

Children wait with empty pots as aid workers distribute food in Gaza City earlier this month

The United Nations High Court has ordered Israel to provide unfettered aid to Gaza to avoid famine.

In a unanimous ruling, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said Israel must act “without delay” to allow “the delivery of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance”.

This follows warnings that famine could hit Gaza within weeks.

Israel has called the allegations of withholding aid “totally baseless”.

In its response to the court order, the Israeli Foreign Ministry called on the UN to provide continued aid to Gaza “by land, air and sea” to “encourage new initiatives and expand existing ones”. and many others.

It claims that Hamas is responsible for the situation in Gaza and for starting the war.

The Recent judgment The ruling comes after South Africa asked Israel to strengthen its January order to take all measures to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza.

Although the orders passed by the ICJ are legal, the court has no power to enforce them.

It said all of Gaza's 2.2 million people “face high levels of acute food insecurity” and predicted famine in the north of the territory by the end of May.

In its ruling, the ICJ said Gaza “no longer only faces the risk of famine” but that “famine is developing,” and according to UN observers, 31 people, including 27 children, have already died of malnutrition and dehydration.

It also noted comments by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Durk, who said last week that the “situation of hunger, starvation and famine” is “a result of Israel's extensive restrictions on the entry and distribution of humanitarian aid and commercial goods”. , the displacement of most people, as well as the destruction of critical civilian infrastructure”.

“Israel shall take all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay and in full cooperation with the United Nations, the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance without interruption,” the court said.

It said the most-needed assistance included food, water, electricity, fuel, shelter and clothing, as well as hygiene and medical supplies.

The ruling also said Israel must ensure that “its army does not commit acts that violate the rights of Palestinians in Gaza” under the Genocide Convention.

In recent months, long lines of aid trucks have repeatedly formed as they wait to enter Gaza from Egypt, and Israel has been accused of making deliveries into complicated and arbitrary raids.

In a filing last week, Israel asked the ICJ not to issue the latest order, saying South Africa's allegations were “totally unfounded in fact and in law” and “morally repugnant.”

It has also dismissed as “baseless” the broader case against it under the Genocide Convention.

Israel added that Hamas was taking most of the aid entering Gaza and that the UN had failed to distribute the rest to civilians.

The current conflict began after the October 7 attack, when gunmen led by Hamas crossed the border into Israel, killing about 1,200 people and taking more than 250 hostages.

Of those taken, about 130 remain unaccounted for and at least 34 are presumed dead.

At least 32,552 people have been killed in Israel's retaliation, according to Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry. Earlier this month, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said more than 25,000 of those killed were women and children.

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