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Israel to report to top UN court on orders to prevent genocide in Gaza

Anadolu Agency MIDDLE EAST
Published February 26,2024

As the one-month deadline for Israel to act to prevent possible genocide in Gaza — as ordered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) — draws to an end, Tel Aviv is expected on Monday to submit its report on the measures it has taken.

Despite a preliminary ruling in The Hague demanding Israel take measures to prevent acts of genocide under the 1948 Genocide Convention, 3,523 more Palestinians have been killed by Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip since the Jan. 26 verdict, with the total death toll at nearly 30,000, mostly women and children.

Tel Aviv, which denies the charges of genocide in the case filed by South Africa late last year, is required to report to the ICJ on all the measures it has taken to implement the court's ruling.

Israel has continued to target hospitals and schools where Palestinians have taken refuge in Gaza, as well as civilian infrastructure, and is accused of escalating its attacks despite the court's orders.

In the one-month period since the court issued its interim measures, Israeli attacks have killed more than 100 Palestinians per day in Gaza, totaling 1,660 children and 1,070 women. On top of the death toll, thousands unaccounted for are also feared dead under the rubble.

The court had also ordered Israel take measures to improve the humanitarian situation in the besieged Palestinian enclave, but the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) reported on Feb. 14 that the number of aid trucks entering Gaza had fallen far below the daily target of 500.

Significant obstacles continue to block the entry of humanitarian materials through Gaza's Kerem Shalom and Rafah gates.

Before the Israel launched its offensive and ramped up its blockade on Gaza, the territory had been receiving 500-600 trucks daily, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). But in February, daily truck entries fell to fewer than 10 on some days.

On Feb. 9, only seven trucks were reported to have entered Gaza, while nine were able to on Feb. 12, four on Feb. 17, and nine again on Feb. 19.

The lack of basic necessities is made worse by the fact that more than 2 million people have been displaced in Gaza due to Israel's attacks.

Israelis have been protesting to block aid from passing through the Kerem Shalom gate between Israel and southern Gaza, where most of those uprooted are seeking shelter, while mass hunger and disease are rampant across the territory.

But it is not guaranteed that the aid will reach Palestinians in need even if it makes it into Gaza.

UNRWA announced on Feb. 7 that some of its trucks carrying food aid into Gaza had been bombed, purportedly by Israeli forces, two days earlier.

The report said that due to the attack, the trucks could not reach their intended destination.

"In the Gaza Strip, where the population is facing a very high level of acute food insecurity and life-saving humanitarian assistance is not accessible, food aid could not be distributed. UNRWA conducted its last food distribution in the northern Gaza Valley on January 23, 2024."

"The trucks did not reach the intended destination and food assistance could not be distributed in Gaza City, where the population is facing very high levels of acute food insecurity and is unable to access life-saving humanitarian aid," it said in the situation report.

South Africa filed the ICJ case against Israel on Dec. 29, alleging that Israel violated the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948.

South Africa requested the world court issue provisional measures due to the urgency of the situation in Gaza, with hearings on the request held on Jan. 11-12 at the Peace Palace in The Hague.

The ICJ ordered Israel to take all necessary measures to prevent acts defined in Article 2 of the Genocide Convention, to prevent, hinder, and punish those calling for genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, to eliminate adverse living conditions by providing essential services and humanitarian aid, and to take effective measures to prevent the destruction of evidence showing the violation of the Genocide Convention against Palestinians.

The ICJ also ordered Israel to submit a report on all the measures it has taken within one month from the date of the decision.

Israel has launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 attack by Palestinian group Hamas, killing more than 29,690 people and causing mass destruction and shortages of necessities, while nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed.

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.