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Did Israel Obey World Court's Order To Provide Emergency Aid To Gaza?

World Court session on Israel. Credit: ICJ

Israel had 30 days to obey the six provisional orders of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, regarding what it had found to be a “plausible” case of genocide against 2.2 million Palestinian civilians in Gaza. The Times of Israel reported yesterday that Israel’s report to the ICJ was being drafted by the Justice and Foreign Ministries, and that both ministries were being “extremely tight-lipped” as to what they would submit, and they will not make the report available to the press or the general public.

Israel’s Ynet news agency reported on Feb. 24 that Prime Minister Netanyahu had instructed the ministries to focus on two of the six orders, those regarding the order to “prevent and punish” incitement to genocide, and to “enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life” in Gaza. TOI points out that the Genocide Convention of 1948 forbids “deliberately inflicting” conditions of life designed to bring about the destruction of a particular group of people, or part of it.

TOI attempts to outline some sort of case for Israel’s submission. According to Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), an agency within the Defense Ministry, some 13,905 trucks of humanitarian aid have passed into Gaza since the outbreak of war. That amounts to about 20% of the pre-October 7 daily level of aid into Gaza. Crudely put, that is an 80% reduction in food, water and medicine, a level below that of German concentration camps. But perhaps matters improved about the ICJ’s order on Jan. 26.

Curiously, COGAT doesn’t provide a weekly or even monthly breakdown of the number of trucks entering Gaza, so it is impossible to evaluate Israel’s humanitarian efforts following the Jan. 26 ICJ ruling based on Israeli data. While the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) data correspond to about the same 20% level, their weekly breakdown shows that during the two weeks between the ICJ hearing and the ICJ ruling, Israel ramped up deliveries to 31%, but after the provisional orders, deliveries collapsed to around 17%.

Part of the problem is the accumulated effects of months of shortages, whereby desperate Gazan residents, facing life or death, hijack aid trucks. On top of that, the Hamas police forces have drastically curtailed their ability to provide any security for the convoys, as the Israeli military has opened fire on them, chasing them from the scene.

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