Saudi Arabia welcomes ICJ’s order for Israel to halt Rafah assault in Gaza

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Saudi Arabia on Friday lauded the decision by the International Court of Justice to halt its offensive on Gaza’s Rafah.

The World Court had earlier backed a South African request to order Israel to halt its offensive in Rafah, a week after Pretoria called for the measure in a case accusing Israel of genocide.

“The Foreign Ministry expresses Saudi Arabia’s welcoming of the decision by the ICJ ordering Israel to immediately halt its military offensives or any other actions in Rafah, in conformity with the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said.

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Riyadh also urged the international community to uphold its obligations to stop “all forms of aggression” against the Palestinians.

The UAE also welcomed the decision and stressed the need for more humanitarian aid to be allowed into Gaza.

Other reactions poured in throughout the day from countries and officials around the world. Israel denounced the move and said it would not impact the ongoing bombardment of Gaza, which Israeli officials have said was to “defeat Hamas.”

Palestinian Authority

“The presidency welcomes the decision issued by the International Court of Justice, which represents an international consensus on the demand to stop the all-out war on Gaza,” Palestinian Presidential Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said.

The Palestinian ambassador to the UN called for Israel to abide by the ruling immediately. “We welcome these provisional measures including stopping the military operation in Rafah,” Riyad Mansour told reporters at UN headquarters in New York. “We expect that resolutions of the ICJ be implemented without hesitation. That’s mandatory. And Israel is party to the convention.”

South Africa

South Africa’s international relations department said that the move was groundbreaking.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also welcomed the World Court’s order but said he remained concerned the United Nations Security Council had not succeeded in reducing human suffering in Gaza.



Judges at the World Court earlier on Friday backed a South African request to order Israel to halt its offensive in Rafah, a week after Pretoria called for the measure in a case accusing Israel of genocide.

Israel has repeatedly dismissed the case’s accusations of genocide as baseless, arguing in court that its operations in Gaza are self-defense and targeted at Hamas militants who attacked Israel on Oct. 7.

Jordan

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said in a post on X that with its ruling the ICJ has exposed Israel’s war crimes in Gaza.

Safadi added that the UN Security Council “must shoulder its responsibility, put an end to Israel’s impunity and to double standards in enforcing [international] law.”

Turkey

“We welcome the interim decision ... ordering Israel to halt its attacks on Rafah in Gaza and immediately open the Rafah border gate to humanitarian aid,” the Turkish foreign ministry said.

“No country in the world is above the law. We expect all decisions taken by the Court to be quickly implemented by Israel. To ensure this, we invite the UN Security Council to do its part,” it added.

Israel

Israel’s hardline Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said Israel would not accept the International Court of Justice ruling ordering it to halt its military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Smotrich, leader of one the extreme right-wing parties in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government, said demanding Israel to stop the war against Hamas was tantamount to demanding that Israel decide to cease to exist. “Israeli will not agree to that,” he said in a statement.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid also condemned Friday’s ruling for failing to draw a connection between its demand for an end to the fighting with a demand to return Israeli hostages held in Gaza. Lapid, normally a fierce critic of Netanyahu, said the court’s failure to link the two issues was “a moral collapse and a moral disaster.”

Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz said Israel would continue its “just and necessary” war against Hamas to return its hostages and ensure its security after the International Court of Justice ordered it to halt its operation in Rafah. “The State of Israel is committed to continue fighting to return its hostages and promise the security of its citizens - wherever and whenever necessary - including in Rafah,” he said.

Gantz added that Israel would operate in accordance with international law, while safeguarding to the best extent possible the civilian population.

Before the ruling, an Israeli government spokesperson said: “No power on Earth will stop Israel from protecting its citizens and going after Hamas in Gaza.”

European Union

EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the EU has to choose between respecting the EU’s support for international institutions or its support for Israel.

“What is going to be the answer to the ruling of the International Court of Justice that has been issued today, what is going to be our position? We will have to choose between our support to international institutions of the rule of law or our support to Israel,” he said at an event in Florence.

Canada

Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said she expected all parties to follow international law. Freeland made her comments in a call to reporters from a Group of Seven meeting in Italy.

Belgium

“The @CIJ_ICJ orders Israel to stop its military offensive in Rafah. (Belgium) calls for immediate implementation of the decision. The violence and human suffering in Gaza must stop. We call for a ceasefire, the release of the hostages and negotiations for two States,” Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib posted Friday on social media.

Council on American-Islamic Relations

“We applaud this binding order by the United Nations’ top court demanding an immediate end to Israel’s slaughter and forced displacement of Palestinian civilians in Rafah” said the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“While the Biden administration stands alone in continuing to offer full support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza, the international community is increasingly pushing back against the slaughter, forced starvation and ethnic cleansing Israel’s far-right government is inflicting on the Palestinian people,” the statement added.

The organization also called for Biden to halt all military aid to Israel.

“Israel is clearly attempting to make Gaza uninhabitable. It must be stopped from completing this monstrous goal. President Biden must honor this important ruling by immediately ending all military assistance to Israel’s genocide,” it said.

Hamas

Hamas welcomed the ruling but said it was insufficient.

“In the time we welcome the decision by the World Court that calls on the Zionist occupation forces to end its military aggression on Rafah, we believe it is not enough since the occupation aggression across the Gaza Strip and especially in northern Gaza is just as brutal and dangerous,” senior Hamas official Basem Naim told Reuters.

“We call upon the UN Security Council to immediately implement this demand by the World Court into practical measures to compel the Zionist enemy to implement the decision.”

“We welcome the court’s request to allow investigation committees to reach the Gaza Strip to investigate acts of war of genocide against the Palestinian people and Hamas pledges to cooperate with investigation committees,” said Naim.

Read more:

World Court orders Israel to halt Rafah invasion, says situation has worsened

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