South Asia and Beyond

UN Court Orders Israel To Allow Aid Into Gaza

 UN Court Orders Israel To Allow Aid Into Gaza

UN worker in Gaza (Photo: UNRWA/file photo)

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nation’s top court, has ordered Israel to ensure an unhindered flow of aid into Gaza.

The court in an unanimous decision asked Tel Aviv to act “without delay”. Israel has said that the allegations of blocking aid are “wholly unfounded”.

In its ruling, the ICJ said Gaza was “no longer facing only a risk of famine” but “famine is setting in”

The order comes weeks after the UN warned that a famine could hit Gaza within weeks. Israel has maintained that Hamas is to blame for the situation in Gaza as it started the war.

The latest ruling by the court in The Hague comes after South Africa asked it to strengthen an order issued in January to take all measures to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza.

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The orders issued by ICJ were not binding as the court does not have the power to enforce them. This comes after a report by the World Food Programme that a “catastrophic” situation was developing in Gaza.

In the order, the ICJ said Israel had to “take all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay, in full cooperation with the United Nations, the unhindered provision at scale… of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance”.

In recent months, aid trucks have been repeatedly made to wait to enter Gaza and subjected to random checks.

Israel argues that most of the aid is taken away by Hamas and accuses the UN of not being able to distribute it to the civilian population.

The conflict started after the October 7 attack, when Hamas-led gunmen stormed into Israel killing over 1,200. In the retaliation that followed, Israeli forces have killed over 32,000 Palestinians – three-fourths of which are women and children. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to launch an offensive in the southern city of Rafah, where more than 1.5 million Palestinians are sheltering.