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UN Court orders Israel to open more aid routes to Gaza

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The United Nations’ highest court on Thursday ordered Israel in a legally binding decree to open more land crossings into Gaza to allow more humanitarian aid to starving Palestinians in the territory.

The order from the International Court of Justice in The Hague calls on Israel to take “all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay” the delivery of “basic services and humanitarian assistance which are urgently needed “, including food, water, fuel and medical supplies.

The court also ordered Israel to immediately ensure “that its army does not commit acts that constitute a violation of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza as a group protected by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide , in particular preventing, by any action whatsoever, the delivery of humanitarian aid which we urgently need. »

The court asked Israel to report within a month on how it implemented the orders.

Israel had no immediate comment on the decision, but it has categorically denied committing genocide in its nearly six-month war against Hamas militants. He urged the UN court not to issue further orders.

Israeli and American flags are reflected on a conference table where Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, at the Pentagon, March 26, 2024, in Washington. Israeli and American flags are reflected on a conference table where Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, at the Pentagon, March 26, 2024, in Washington.

US, Israel hold new talks over Israeli Rafah invasion plan

The order follows a case brought by South Africa accusing Israel of acts of genocide in Gaza. The conflict began with Hamas’ shock attack on Israel on October 7, which killed 1,200 people and led to the capture of around 250 hostages. The Israeli counter-offensive in Gaza has killed more than 32,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and according to the Israeli army, several thousand Hamas militants.

The Israeli military reported fighting Thursday near Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, as well as in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Smoke rises above buildings following the Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 27, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Smoke rises above buildings following the Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 27, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The health ministry in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip said Thursday that 62 Palestinians had been killed the day before.

In a reversal, Israel agreed on Wednesday to send its war strategists to Washington to discuss plans to launch a ground attack against Hamas militants in the southern Gaza town of Rafah.

On Monday, Israel canceled the trip to protest America’s refusal to veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire.

The United States, Israel’s staunchest ally, abstained from this week’s UN vote after vetoing similar resolutions earlier. That prompted a rebuke from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, evidence of a growing division with Washington over Israel’s conduct of the war.

But even as Netanyahu canceled the trip of a group of his war strategists, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was in Washington this week for talks with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Netanyahu said an attack in Rafah was necessary to erase all Hamas control over Gaza, the narrow enclave along the Mediterranean Sea. But the United States has told Israel it is opposed to an invasion of Rafah, especially since more than a million Palestinian civilians are sheltered there in tents and makeshift structures.

Israel said it would bring Palestinians to safety before any attack on four Hamas battalions based in Rafah, but it did not indicate where it would send them.

While saying the U.S. abstention was “very, very bad,” Netanyahu told visiting Republican U.S. Senator Rick Scott that his initial cancellation of the Israeli delegation’s trip “was first and foremost a message to Hamas: Don’t bet on this (UN). ) pressure (for a ceasefire). It will not work.”

Netanyahu said the Security Council vote “encouraged Hamas to take a hard line and believe that international pressure will prevent Israel” from achieving its war goals. Israel has vowed to continue fighting until the Hamas army is destroyed and the remaining 100 hostages it is holding are freed.

The White House said it was “a good thing” to hold more discussions with Israeli officials and that a date was being discussed.

Some information in this report comes from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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    VOA News

    The Voice of America provides news and information in more than 40 languages ​​to an estimated weekly audience of more than 326 million people. Articles bearing the VOA News byline are the work of several VOA journalists and may contain information from wire service reports.

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