ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

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South Africa seeks World Court intervention to block Israeli offensive against Hamas in Rafah

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

South Africa once again appeals to the International Court of Justice, requesting that the court consider ordering Israel to refrain from attacking the Gazan city of Rafah.

The IDF is preparing to stage an operation in Rafah to attack four largely intact Hamas battalions situated in the city. Israel believes senior Hamas leaders are also present in Rafah or below it the Hamas tunnel system, along with some of the Israeli hostages the terror group is holding captive.

“The South African Government has made an urgent request to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to consider whether the decision announced by Israel to extend its military operations in Rafah, which is the last refuge for surviving people in Gaza, requires that the court uses its power to prevent further imminent breach of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza,” reads a statement issued by a spokesperson for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The statement says South Africa is concerned that an Israeli military offensive against Rafah “has already led to and will result in further large scale killing, harm and destruction.”

Following an application to the ICJ by South Africa on charges of genocide, the court in January issued interim orders instructing Israel to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Gaza and punish anyone inciting to genocide.

Earlier in January, Ramaphosa met with General Mohamed Dagalo, head of the Sudanese rebel militia Rapid Support Forces, which has been accused by the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) chief prosecutor of committing war crimes, including systematic massacres in Darfur, in recent months.

Ramaphosa referred to Dagalo as “His Excellency President Mohamed Dagalo of Sudan” and was pictured shaking his hand and smiling, although the tweet was later deleted.

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