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Thursday, 28 March 2024 23:06

Ramaphosa welcomes additional provisional measures ordered by the ICJ.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Israel to provide immediate, unhindered delivery of aid to Gaza as part of new provisional measures issued in a genocide case brought by South Africa.

The UN's top court on Thursday granted South Africa's urgent request to enforce additional emergency measures against Israel, accusing it of violating existing measures and causing irreparable harm to the rights invoked by Pretoria under the 1948 Genocide Convention in respect of the ongoing siege of Gaza.

In its application, South Africa warned that Palestinians in Gaza are in dire straits and that it was "compelled to return to the Court in light of the new facts and changes in the situation in Gaza — particularly the situation of widespread starvation."

President Cyril Ramaphosa said the impact of the ICJ's order is significant.

Ramaphosa said the latest measures ordered by the World Court followed an application by South Africa.

The ICJ has ordered Israel to act without delay in ensuring food supplies.

"Palestinians in Gaza are no longer facing only a risk of famine, as noted in the Order of January 26, 2024, but that famine is setting in, with at least 31 people, including 27 children, having already died of malnutrition and dehydration," said judges of the court.

They ordered Israel to ensure the supply of basic services to the people of Gaza.

"Take all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay, in full co-operation with the United Nations, the unhindered provision at scale by all concerned of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance, including food, water, electricity, fuel, shelter, clothing, hygiene and sanitation requirements, as well as medical supplies and medical care to Palestinians throughout Gaza, including by increasing the capacity and number of land crossing points and maintaining them open for as long as necessary," said the judges.

The ICJ told Israel to report back in a month on its implementation of the orders.

"Submit a report to the Court on all measures taken to give effect to this order within one month as from the date of this order."

The ICJ said the provisional measures supplement those of 26 January, which ordered Israel to refrain from committing genocidal acts against Palestinians in Gaza and to prevent and punish direct and public incitement to commit genocide in relation to members of the Palestinian group in Gaza.

Israel has been accused of failing to implement the previous measures as bombardments continued in Gaza.

The United Nations Security Council early in the week voted in support of a ceasefire in Gaza.

The death toll in Gaza since 7 October, 2023 has now reached over 32 552 Palestinians, mostly women and children, killed and 74 980 others injured.