UN top court orders Israel to open more land crossings into Gaza

The top United Nations court ordered Israel to take measures to allow more supplies into Gaza.

The ruling orders Israel to open more land crossings to allow food, water, fuel and other supplies into Gaza to tackle crippling shortages in the war-ravaged enclave.

The International Court of Justice issued two new so-called provisional measures in a case brought by South Africa.

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The UN has ordered Israel to open corridors to allow aid to enter Gaza by land instead of just by air (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Israel stringently denies it is committing genocide and says its military campaign is self defence.

Thursday’s order came after South Africa sought more provisional measures, including a ceasefire, citing starvation in Gaza.

Israel urged the court not to issue new orders.

In its legally binding order, the court told Israel to 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, fuel and medical supplies.

It also ordered Israel to immediately ensure “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 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, including by preventing, through any action, the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance”.

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The United Nations earlier passed a motion calling for a ceasefire (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Israel declared war in response to a bloody cross-border attack by Hamas on October 7 in which 1,200 people were killed and 250 others were taken hostage.

Israel responded with a campaign of airstrikes and a ground offensive that have left more than 32,000 Palestinians dead, according to local health authorities. The fighting also displaced over 80% of Gaza’s population and caused widespread damage.

The UN and international aid agencies say virtually the entire Gaza population is struggling to get enough food, with hundreds of thousands of people on the brink of famine, especially in hard-hit northern Gaza.

South Africa welcomed Thursday’s decision, calling it “significant”.

“The fact that Palestinian deaths are not solely caused by bombardment and ground attacks, but also by disease and starvation, indicates a need to protect the group’s right to exist,” the South African president said in a statement.

Hamas said in an online statement that the ruling must be enforced by the international community.

“It must be implemented immediately, so that this decision does not remain a dead letter,” the militant group said.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry thanked South Africa, calling the case “a vital step in the global effort to hold Israel accountable for perpetrating genocide”.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment on the order.

In a written response earlier this month to South Africa’s request for more measures, Israel said the claims by South Africa were “wholly unfounded,” “morally repugnant” and “an abuse both of the Genocide Convention and of the Court itself.”

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