ICJ Orders Israel to Let Far More Aid In as Gaza Famine Spreads

ON 03/29/2024 AT 03 : 41 AM

The International Court of Justice followed up on its January ruling by issuing another order fascist Israel will ignore.
Logo of the ICJ.
The logo of the International Court of Justice. The ICJ is headquartered in and holds its hearings at The Hague,Netherlands. International Court of Justice

On January 26, 2024, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nations’ highest court whose decisions are legally binding on all UN members, issued preliminary findings and orders on a case brought to the Court by South Africa alleging that Israel was committing genocide in its war against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The Court at that time issued provisional findings stopped short of declaring Israel guilty of genocide, asking instead for more fact data from the two parties to the dispute: South Africa as a plaintiff of sorts and Israel as the defendant. It did so while also finding that the charges of genocide leveled against Israel were credible, even if not unequivocally proven based on legal filings submitted to the Court.

The Court also said famine was imminent in Gaza because Israel had shut down access to food in Gaza.

It then issued a provisional order with two elements directly related to the broad-based slaughter of the Palestinian at Israel’s hands. 

Article 1 of that order says that “The state of Israel shall, in accordance with its obligations under the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in relation to the Palestinians in Gaza, take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts under the scope of Article II of the convention, in particular  (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.”

Article 4 of that order requires that “The state of Israel shall take immediate and effective measures to ensure the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance, to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”

The provision in Article 1(c) that Israel must stop “Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part” and Article 4 in its entirety both directly relate to the use of starvation as a deliberate tactic in waging war in Gaza.

What Happened Regarding the ICJ Case Since January 26

Since that time, the Zionist nation has, if anything, doubled down on its restraint of food aid to Gazans.

It has brazenly upped its campaign of lies and propaganda declaring that the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), which is the primary conduit of food, water, medicine, medical supplies, and other humanitarian aid to the Palestinians in Gaza, is infiltrated with Hamas insurgents. Those lies have had a devastating impact. Despite that the UNRWA responded immediately to Israel’s initial allegations that seven or more of UNRWA’s roughly 13,000 aid workers in Gaza by firing them immediately but without agreeing that they were guilty, at least ten nations almost instantaneously halted all contributions to UNRWA funding at a time when the aid it delivers was most needed.

Among those was the United States, Israel’s staunch ally in its genocidal ambitions. It responded to Israel’s claims of UNRWA’s collusion with Hamas by immediately suspending all aid to the agency just on Israel’s lies. The U.S. has routinely provided the most aid to that agency for years, and in 2022 donated $344 million to support its four-part mission of providing “humanitarian assistance, human development, and protection of Palestine Refugees [worldwide]”. In 2023, U.S. made a first donation of $153 million to UNRWA in June, with lesser amounts later in the year and final totals not yet disclosed.

Since American contributions typically amounted to over 45% of all donations there, when final numbers are reported on donations for 2023 it is probable the United States will remain the world’s biggest supporter to the agency last year. That will not be the case in 2024, however. For a start, based on the idiotic Israeli conspiracy theory involving the UNRWA, the U.S. has provided no money at all to UNRWA for all of 2023 to date. Then the U.S. Congress passed, and dementia-ridden Joe Biden signed into law, a special $1.2 trillion emergency government funding bill last week. That bill included provisions that none of that money, which supports all federal spending, may be used to provide donations to UNRWA until March 2025.

Since the first charges that seven Hamas agents were embedded within UNRWA in Gaza, Israel escalated its propaganda by saying next that the number of Hamas in the agency might amount to over one hundred people. The agency pledged to investigate but did not respond by firing a larger number of people just based on Israel’s declaration. Israel eventually increased the allegations to suggest next that the numbers might be as much as 10% of the total workforce in Gaza, a number most western nations have not responded to publicly.

In response to the piling on of conspiracy theories regarding Hamas and the UNRWA, most western donors to UNRWA joined the U.S. in temporarily rescinded all funding for the group. That alone put UNRWA on virtual life support itself. It has only been able to continue with its mission through additional allocations provided directly by the United Nations, and by the agency itself carrying out further cutbacks on the administrative side of the work.

On top of this, last week the Israeli government announced it was permanently banning all UNRWA aid convoys from entering northern Gaza.

Since the ICJ rulings on January 26, Israel also deliberately slowed the movement of aid from every source into all parts of Gaza. It continues to exercise full control over what enters Gaza from anywhere, and routinely blocks entire trucks from entering if an inspection shows something is packaged as part of that aid that Israel can claim might be used by Hamas to attack the Israeli Defense Forces. Israeli inspectors have ordered aid trucks to turn back around, for example, when the medical supplies they carried included items such as medical scissors in children’s care kits, oxygen cylinders for those hospitalized and in need of them, and chemotherapy treatments. All are categorized by Israel as having the potential of “dual use” as weapons, they say.

Psychopathic Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant created further havoc for aid trucks entering northern Gaza, by having their troops open fire on innocent Palestinians now on multiple occasions, as they waited in line for a chance at a bag of flour or other food. As with similar such atrocities in the past, Israel first attempted to shift the blame to those Palestinians standing by when the trucks arrived, claiming they hurt and even crushed each other to death. Since the killings were recorded by drones flying overhead at the time proving otherwise, and bullets were responsible for the dozens of people killed in multiple such attacks, the next excuse was that the zionist forces had been scared by the people and needed to use guns to keep the people in line. In the several occasions it has happened since those first murders of this kind, Israel has not bothered to issue any excuses. They just kill indiscriminately, inflicting terror in those seeking aid and a legitimate fear they will be taken out by zionist killers.

These collective actions have also restricted the total amount of food aid entering Gaza from all sources. Truck convoys which UN sources say should amount to over 500 a day or more to keep people from dying from lack of food or medical care have cut back to at best 100 on good days, dozens on moderate ones, and just 20 to 30 on others.

And even when the zionist regime itself is not blocking aid, Israeli citizens take it upon themselves to block the trucks. 

A few airdrops have been allowed by the U.S. but the amount of aid distributed has been minimal. The air drops have mostly been political stunts to distract Americans from the Biden gang's continued unconditional support of the genocide.

Then on March 13, the international food aid organization World Central Kitchen (WCK), in partnership with the Spanish humanitarian aid group Open Arms, and with the support of Cyprus and its port at Lanaca, not far from Gaza, sent its first shipment of emergency food supplies to Gaza by boat. That shipment had 200 tons of food in it, in the form of flour; rice; legumes such as beans, chickpeas and lentils; canned fish and meat; and canned vegetables. When unpacked and cooked, mostly at existing WCK facilities already in place in Gaza from years before, it provided around half a million meals for Palestinians in need. 

The U.S. is also in parallel building a special floating dock area off the coast of Gaza, where it will provide an offloading point for more food supplies like the Open Arms/WCK deliveries. The ships for this aid will, like the earlier boat delivery, be loaded in Lanaca. The first shipments via this route are expected to arrive around the end of April. However, many suspect that the dock is to remove Palestinians from Gaza rather then bring in food aid. 

Even with these actions, the impact of Israel’s deliberate blocking of aid into the country has been horrific. What was only a threat of widespread famine in Gaza just months ago has turned into a harsh here-and-now reality with children dying almost daily from lack of food and clean water.

South Africa’s March 6 Filing Asking the International Court of Justice for Further Action

On March 6, after it became clear that Israel was causing even more harm in Gaza despite the original ICJ ruling, South Africa filed an appeal with the Court “to indicate further provisional measures and/or to modify its provisional measures indicated on 26 January 2024.” According to the Court in a response to that request published yesterday, South Africa did so after the “horrific deaths from starvation of Palestinian children, including babies, brought about by Israel’s deliberate acts and omissions . . . including Israel’s concerted attempts since 26 January 2024 to ensure the defunding of [the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)] and Israel’s attacks on starving Palestinians seeking to access what extremely limited humanitarian assistance Israel permits into Northern Gaza, in particular”.

The Court sent South Africa’s claims to Israel for a response. According to the Court summary of what it received back from the lawyers representing the Netanyahu administration, “Israel rejects “in the strongest terms” South Africa’s claims that incidents of starvation in Gaza are a direct result of its deliberate acts and omissions.”

Israel also said the new allegations South Africa had made were “wholly unfounded in fact and law, morally repugnant, and represent an abuse both of the Genocide Convention and of the Court itself.”

Israel’s response, the ICJ continued, “states that the armed hostilities in Gaza were in progress on 26 January 2024 and continue. Furthermore, according to the Respondent, the Court had already taken account, in its Order of 26 January 2024, of materials introduced by South Africa with respect to food insecurity in Gaza. Consequently, in Israel’s view, ‘the difficult and tragic situation in the Gaza Strip in the last weeks could not be said to materially change the considerations upon which the Court based its original decision concerning provisional measures’.”

In effect, Israel is asserting that they consider the ICJ instructions irrelevant because there was a war already going on in Gaza, a war primarily of their own making, but nonetheless a good excuse for not doing what the ICJ had asked.

The panel of judges on the ICJ reviewing the South African request for new action summarily dismissed Israel’s claims, noting in its March 28, 2024, ruling that:

“The Court recalls that, in its Order of 26 January 2024, it concluded that the civilian population in Gaza was extremely vulnerable, noting that many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip had “no access to the most basic foodstuffs, potable water, electricity, essential medicines or heating” (Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v. Israel), Provisional Measures, Order of 26 January 2024, para. 70). In its decision communicated to the Parties by letters of 16 February 2024, the Court noted, quoting the United Nations Secretary-General, that the developments in the Gaza Strip, and in Rafah in particular, “would exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare with untold regional consequences” (see paragraph 7 above). The Court observes with regret that, since then, the catastrophic living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have deteriorated further, in particular in view of the prolonged and widespread deprivation of food and other basic necessities to which the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been subjected.”

The Court goes on to cite as important evidence an updated report it received on March 18 from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification Global Initiative (IPC Global Initiative), a collective including the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the World Health Organization (WHO). That report concluded that:

“The IPC acute food insecurity analysis conducted in December 2023 warned of a risk that Famine may occur by the end of May 2024 if an immediate cessation of hostilities and sustained access for the provision of essential supplies and services to the population did not take place. Since then, the conditions necessary to prevent Famine have not been met and the latest evidence confirms that Famine is imminent in the northern governorates and projected to occur anytime between mid-March and May 2024.”

The ICJ also includes in its summary critical information provided via a March 15, 2024, report it had received from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). That document stated cases of malnutrition in children 2 years of age or younger in northern Gaza had risen from a rate of 15.6% in January, a number still staggering by itself, to 31% as of earlier this month. In a press release UNICEF issued along with this report, that group declared that “malnutrition among children is spreading fast and reaching devastating and unprecedented levels in the Gaza Strip due to the wide-reaching impacts of the war and ongoing restrictions on aid delivery.”

The March 28 Incremental Ruling by the ICJ

Based on this new data and the lack of any rational response from Israel, the judges of the International Court of Justice have now revised their original order issued on January 26.

Its new orders now require that:

“In conformity with its obligations under the Genocide Convention, and in view of the worsening conditions of life faced by Palestinians in Gaza, in particular the spread of famine and starvation, Israel shall:

(a) 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; and

(b) ensure with immediate effect that its military does not commit acts which constitute a violation of any of the rights of the Palestinians in Gaza as a protected group under the Genocide Convention, including by preventing, through any action, the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance.”

As in the case of the previous order, the ICJ is also demanding Israel providing a written report of actions it takes in response to this order.

The main clause in (a) was agreed upon in the ICJ by a vote of 14 to 2. The second new provision, (b), was agreed upon unanimously by all judges on the Court.

The ICJ also noted that its order is legally binding on Israel, but it has no means to enforce it.

Israel has not yet formally responded to the ICJ ruling and does not recognize any international authority. Few believe the ruling will have any impact on Israel’s continued use of starvation as a weapon in Gaza, or on its plans for its coming ground invasion in Rafah.  The genocide will continue thanks to the cowardice and corruption of nations in position to stop it.

The corrupt International Criminal Court (ICC) continues to aid and abet the genocide by ignoring Israel's actions. It had no problem issuing arrest warrants for a Russian military commander who had destroyed some electrical power systems in Ukraine but won't issue arrest warrants for Israeli war criminals engaged in blatant genocide. 

Saudi Arabia, Jordan and UAE continue to actively support the genocide by supplying Israel via highways across their territory. Turkey has also continued to supply Israel by ship and there is a steady stream of ships registered in Turkey servicing Israeli ports. The Turkish cargo ship Vento arrived in the port of Ashdod this morning. 

The only nation officially standing up to Israel with military force is impoverished Yemen, which continues to impose an embargo on ships transiting the Red Sea that are supporting the genocide. It is paying a heavy price by being bombed continually by the U.S. 

Iran continues to supply weapons, training and intelligence to non-governmental resistance forces in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, but its efforts are insufficient. Behind the scenes it has been trying to build an Islamic coalition to take on Israel but there is no visible evidence that it has been successful. Most Islamic nations are run by corrupt dictators more interested in wealth and power than combating evil.

Last night, the ambassadors of Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Algeria, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Bangladesh, as well as the head of the Afghan embassy and the deputy ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan all met at the Iranian embassy in Moscow to discuss the genocide.