The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is expected to deliver its ruling today on whether to order Israel to stop its military operations in Gaza, as part of a case brought by South Africa alleging that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinian people.
The case, which opened two weeks ago, has sparked intense debate and controversy, as both countries presented their arguments before the 17 judges of the UN’s top court. South Africa, which strongly supports the Palestinians, accused Israel of violating the 1948 Genocide Convention, which defines genocide as acts intended to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.
South Africa asked the court to issue nine provisional measures, including a halt to military activity by Israel, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, the lifting of the blockade on Gaza, the protection of civilians and humanitarian workers, and the provision of food, water, medicine and other essential supplies to the population of Gaza.
The ICJ’s ruling, which is expected to be announced at 10:00 GMT, will be legally binding, but not enforceable by the court. However, it will have significant political and moral implications, as it could increase the pressure on Israel and the international community to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, which has claimed more than 25,000 lives and injured tens of thousands more, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza.
The ruling could also pave the way for further legal action against Israel, such as sanctions, reparations, or criminal prosecution, if South Africa decides to pursue the case to its final stage, which could take years.