UN court orders Israel to permit food and medical aid into Gaza

The UN’s paramount decree mandates Israel to ensure unimpeded aid flow into Gaza, crucial to stave off famine

In a unanimous ruling, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) declared that Israel must take immediate action to facilitate the unrestricted provision of urgently required essential services and humanitarian aid to Gaza.

This decision comes in response to concerns about the imminent threat of famine in Gaza, with Israel dismissing accusations of aid obstruction as entirely baseless.

Israel’s foreign ministry, in its response to the court’s directive, affirmed ongoing efforts to enhance aid channels into Gaza, collaborating with the UN and other stakeholders via various means of transportation. Israel attributes the crisis in Gaza to Hamas and the conflict initiated by the group.

The recent ICJ ruling followed South Africa’s request to reinforce an earlier order for Israel to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza, citing its obligation as a signatory to the UN’s Genocide Convention.

While ICJ orders hold legal weight, enforcement authority lies solely with the UN Security Council.

The ruling coincides with a report warning of a dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, with the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification Global Initiative indicating a critical food shortage, putting the entire population at risk of famine.

According to the ICJ, Gaza is no longer just at risk but is already experiencing famine, with reported deaths attributed to malnutrition and dehydration.

The court emphasized the need for Israel to cooperate fully with the UN to ensure the unimpeded provision of essential services and aid, including food, water, electricity, fuel, shelter, clothing, hygiene products, and medical supplies.

Despite allegations of aid diversion and delays, Israel maintains that Hamas intercepts much of the aid intended for civilians.

The conflict in Gaza escalated following an attack by Hamas militants, resulting in casualties on both sides and drawing international calls for a ceasefire, which Israel has so far disregarded.