What did The International Court of Justice Ruling on Israel-Gaza say?

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza has garnered international attention for quite some time now. In a bid to tackle the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has recently issued a significant ruling.

South Africa has asked the court to order an immediate halt to Israel's incursion into Rafah in Gaza.
South Africa has asked the court to order an immediate halt to Israel’s incursion into Rafah in Gaza. Getty

The Ruling

The ICJ has taken a strong stance by issuing a series of provisional measures aimed at addressing the situation. These measures include requiring Israel to adhere to the 1948 Genocide Convention, facilitate increased humanitarian aid into Gaza, and take action against individuals making genocidal statements. Additionally, the court has mandated that Israel must implement all necessary measures to prevent genocidal acts from occurring in Gaza.

The Interpretation

The ICJ’s ruling has sparked considerable debate and scrutiny, particularly regarding its use of the word “plausible.” This term led to widespread interpretation that the court had affirmed the claim of Israel’s involvement in genocide in Gaza as “plausible.” Consequently, this interpretation quickly gained traction, finding its way into UN press releases, statements from advocacy groups, and numerous media reports.

Joan Donoghue, the president of the ICJ at the time of the ruling, provided clarification in a BBC interview regarding the interpretation of the ruling. She emphasized that the court did not rule on whether Israel was committing genocide in Gaza. Instead, the ruling aimed to affirm South Africa’s right to bring its case against Israel and underscored the “plausible rights to protection from genocide” for Palestinians, rights that were deemed to be under a genuine threat of irreparable harm.

The Background

The ICJ was established to handle disputes between nations concerning international law. This includes laws that are mutually agreed upon by nations, such as the Genocide Convention, which was a significant measure put in place after World War Two to prevent the recurrence of such widespread atrocities.

Israel was accused by South Africa of committing genocide during its conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip last December. South Africa claimed that Israel’s actions during the war were genocidal in nature, alleging an intention to destroy Palestinians in Gaza. However, Israel vehemently denied these allegations, stating that the case misrepresented the situation on the ground.


The recent ruling from the ICJ marks a notable advancement in the Israel-Gaza conflict. While it doesn’t conclusively affirm the occurrence of genocide, it does highlight that Palestinians hold plausible rights to protection from such atrocities. This emphasizes the pressing need for swift action to address the situation in Gaza and prevent any further harm to the Palestinian population.

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