South Africa

UN experts: famine spreads throughout Gaza Strip

United Nations experts affiliated with the Human Rights Council declared July 9 that famine has now undoubtedly spread throughout the Gaza Strip. The expert determination follows the deaths of three more Palestinian children in May and June. Six-month-old Fayez Ataya, 13-year-old Abdulqader al-Serhi, and nine-year-old Ahmad Abu Reida were all found by the experts to have died from malnutrition. The experts stressed that inaction by the international community amounts to complicity, adding: "Israel's intentional and targeted starvation campaign against the Palestinian people is a form of genocidal violence and has resulted in famine across all of Gaza."

Hamas accepts ceasefire; Israel strikes Rafah

Hamas announced on May 6 that its leaders have told Egyptian and Qatari mediators that they accepted the most recent Gaza ceasefire proposal. Israel's war cabinet responded by voting to continue the planned military operation in Rafah, and the IDF carried out new air-strikes on targets in the southern Gaza city. The strikes came as Palestinians in Gaza were celebrating Hamas' announcement, and Israeli protestors in several cities joined families of the hostages to demand that Israel accept the deal.

Urgent additional ICJ measures requested for Gaza

South Africa filed an urgent request with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on March 7 for additional provisional measures or adjustments to the court's January and February rulings in the country's case against Israel, charging that Israel is carrying out genocide in the Gaza Strip. South Africa said the request is necessitated by changes to the situation in Gaza that have arisen since it originally filed the case with the ICJ, such as imminent risk of famine, particularly in northern Gaza. South Africa said the request is meant "to ensure the safety and security of 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza" and prevent Israel from "continuing egregious breaches" of the provisional measures the ICJ handed down on Jan. 26.

UN rights experts warn against arms exports to Israel

A statement released Feb. 23 by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on behalf of United Nations rights experts warns countries against the transfer of war material to Israel, as such transfers could constitute violations of international humanitarian law if weapons are used contrary to the Geneva Conventions. The statement asserts that "states must accordingly refrain from transferring any weapon or ammunition—or parts for them—if it is expected, given the facts and past patterns of behaviour, that they would be used to violate international law."

Netanyahu orders 'evacuation' of southern Gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Israeli military on Feb. 9 to draw up plans for the "evacuation" of Palestinians from Rafah in southern Gaza as it prepares to launch a full-scale assault on the area. Where people would be evacuated to—and how—remains unclear. Over one million Palestinians forcibly displaced by Israel's military campaign—now entering its fifth month—have been pushed into Rafah. Aid groups warn that there is nowhere left for people to flee to. People in Rafah are already experiencing disease and starvation, with aid operations struggling to meet even basic needs. A ground invasion would "exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare," UN Secretary-General António Guterres said.

What UNRWA funding suspensions mean for Gaza

UNRWA, the UN's agency for Palestine refugees, was plunged into crisis on Jan. 26 when Israel accused 12 of its Gaza employees of involvement in Hamas' deadly Oct. 7 attack into Israel, which touched off a devastating, now nearly four-month-long war.

ICJ issues interim ruling in Gaza genocide case

The International Court of Justice ordered Israel on Jan. 26 to "take all measures within its power" to prevent breaches of the Genocide Convention in the Gaza Strip, but declined to order a ceasefire, following proceedings instituted by South Africa. The court also directed Israel to punish calls for genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, to enable the provision of "basic services and humanitarian assistance" to residents of Gaza, to preserve evidence relating to potential Genocide Convention breaches, and to submit a report regarding its compliance with the court's order within one month. In its interim ruling, the court stressed that it is not yet determining whether Israel breached the Genocide Convention but is acting to protect the rights of Palestinians ahead of a final decision.

Cultural heritage under attack in Gaza

The genocide case brought against Israel at the International Court of Justice charges that "Israel has damaged and destroyed numerous centres of Palestinian learning and culture" in the Gaza Strip, including schools, libraries, religious sites and places of historical importance. The United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reports that in the two-and-a-half months of bombardment, more than 200 schools have been damaged—around 40% of the total number in the Strip, some 40 of them seriously. (Al Jazeera, UNESCO)

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