International Court of Justice
International Court of JusticeiStock

South Africa's government on Friday hailed the ruling by the International Court Justice (ICJ) that ordered Israel to halt the operation on the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Judges at the International Court of Justice backed a South African request to order Israel to halt its offensive in Rafah, a week after Pretoria called for the measure in a case accusing Israel of genocide.

"This order is ground-breaking as it is the first time that explicit mention is made for Israel to halt its military action in any area of Gaza," Zane Dangor, director-general of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, said in a video clip shared by the department and quoted by Reuters.

While welcoming the court's ruling, President Cyril Ramaphosa's office said South Africa remained concerned that the United Nations Security Council had not succeeded in stopping the human suffering in Gaza.

"This case is focused on the ordinary Palestinians in Gaza who are now facing their seventh month of suffering through collective punishment for something for which they have no individual responsibility," he said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

Dangor said South Africa would approach the UN Security Council with the issue of the court ordering Israel to allow access to investigators, the report said.

The measures sought by South Africa form part of an ongoing case that it filed at the ICJ in December of last year accusing Israel of violating the Genocide Convention during its attacks in Gaza.

On January 26, the ICJ handed down a ruling in South Africa’s case, saying that Israel must do everything to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza and take "immediate" measures for aid provisions. It did not, however, order Israel to stop the war in Gaza.

In early March, the court rejected South Africa’s request that it take urgent measures to prevent Israel from operating in Rafah.

(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.)