International Court of Justice
International Court of JusticeiStock

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague on Friday rejected South Africa’s request that it take urgent measures to prevent Israel from operating in the Gazan city of Rafah.

The court ruled that the “perilous situation” in Rafah “demands immediate and effective implementation of the provisional measures indicated by the Court in its Order of 26 January 2024, which are applicable throughout the Gaza Strip, including in Rafah, and does not demand the indication of additional provisional measures.”

It also stressed that “the State of Israel remains bound to fully comply with its obligations under the Genocide Convention and with the said Order, including by ensuring the safety and security of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”

The ruling comes three days after South Africa announced on Tuesday that it had lodged an “urgent request” with the ICJ to consider whether Israel’s military operations targeting Rafah breach provisional orders the court handed down last month in South Africa’s case alleging genocide.

On Thursday, Israel urged the court to reject what it called South Africa’s “highly peculiar and improper” request.

The court in its January 26 ruling ordered Israel to take all measures within its power to prevent its troops from committing genocide and take steps to improve the humanitarian situation of Gazans, though it stopped short of demanding a ceasefire and has not yet ruled on the core of South Africa's case.

South Africa’s case against Israel at the ICJ came amid already strained relations, as the country continues to accuse Israel of a policy of apartheid against Palestinian Arabs.

The South African government announced in November it was recalling its ambassador and entire diplomatic mission from Israel in protest against Israel's attempts to defend itself from the Hamas terrorist organization following the October 7 massacre.

Later, South Africa called in Israeli Ambassador Eliav Belotsercovsky for a formal reprimand, citing “public comments” he had made.

In late November, a majority of South African lawmakers voted in favor of a motion calling for the closure of the Israeli embassy and the cutting of diplomatic ties until Israel agrees to a ceasefire in Gaza.

In 2019, the country announced plans to downgrade its embassy in Tel Aviv.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)