Israel’s First Victory
   Reading time – 9

Gaza and Israel have become the epicenter of attention after the tragic events. Is it true that Israel won its first victory at the International Court of Justice in The Hague? Let’s look at the most important aspects of these events and their consequences.

Israel and its obligations

After much discussion about the disaster in Gaza and the suffering of the civilian population, the court in The Hague issued an interim decision. Israel is obliged to take all possible measures not to violate the Genocide Convention, to ensure its observance and to bring to justice those responsible for its violation. In addition, Israel must preserve all evidence and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Requests of the Republic of South Africa

Israel's First Victory -Requests of the Republic of South Africa.

South Africa proposed a number of interim measures that were not met. These measures included a demand for an immediate cessation of hostilities. It is important to emphasize that the Court did not consider the merits of the case, but only South Africa’s requests for urgent interim measures.

Interim Measures against Israel

According to the Court’s decision, Israel must take the following actions:

  1. In accordance with the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide, Israel must take measures to prevent genocide.
  2. Israel must ensure that the IDF does not participate in crimes, including crimes of genocide.
  3. Israel must take measures to prevent and punish all acts of incitement to genocide against the Palestinians.
  4. Israel must take urgent measures to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip.
  5. Israel must do everything possible to preserve all evidence and proof of what is happening.
  6. Israel must report to the Court within one month on the measures taken to prevent genocide.
  7. The Court demands the immediate release of hostages held by armed groups in the Gaza Strip.

The Court acknowledges the context: On October 7, Hamas attacked Israel, killing 1,200 people and capturing many more. In response, Israel launched a military operation that created a difficult humanitarian situation in the enclave.

Kibbutz Be'eri after a Hamas attack, October 12, 2023
Kibbutz Be’eri after a Hamas attack, October 12, 2023
  •   The Court, contrary to Israel’s position, recognizes the procedural validity of the application.
  •   The Court does not dismiss the case on the merits, contrary to the position of the Israeli side.
  •   The Court recognizes that South Africa has the right to sue Israel in this case and confirms the existence of jurisdiction to make decisions in this case.
  •  “The military operation has caused a large number of casualties and destruction. Any figures regarding the number cannot be confirmed, but the court takes into account the data provided with reference to UN representatives”.  Next comes a series of quotes from UNRWA and other UN officials.
  •   South Africa has the right to request urgent measures against Israel. The Court affirms South Africa’s right to request the adoption of provisional measures, but it is not obliged to take the measures requested; it can offer its own. In fact, that’s what the court did.

Reaction to the Court’s decision

The court’s decision was met with mixed reactions. Israel called the decision an “important legal victory,” while South Africa welcomed the decision, although not all of its demands were met.

Senior Israeli sources described the decision by the International Court of Justice in The Hague as “an important legal victory for Israel and a major blow to Hamas. They explained that the court “did not dare to take away our right to defend ourselves. As for the warning about calls for genocide by some Israelis, the Israeli government’s legal adviser is already dealing with this issue without the International Court of Justice’s urging. As for the humanitarian aid that the court demanded be provided to the Gaza Strip, Israel is already trying to increase it, because thanks to it we have been fighting quietly for 3.5 months, the sources explained.

Secret files

Israel categorically denies all the charges brought against it in The Hague. Israeli lawyers told the court that from the very beginning the Israeli military took into account the importance of preserving the lives of the civilian population in Gaza, for example by giving all civilians and non-combatants two weeks to leave the northern part of the sector before launching military operation Iron Swords there. They also say that after initially stopping the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza at the beginning of the war, Israel later allowed it to continue on a daily basis.

In addition, the Israeli legal team at the International Court of Justice recalled that some cruel and inflammatory statements by a number of Israeli politicians, actually made in the first days after the attack by Hamas militants on October 7, were made by people who have no legislative or executive authority, or were taken out of context. More than 30 orders from the Israeli government and IDF leadership were declassified, which the lawyers said showed Israel’s efforts to minimize harm to civilians in the sector.

Among the declassified documents is a summary of a series of discussions in the Israeli Cabinet at the end of October last year, in which Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered the delivery of aid, fuel and water to Gaza. He also instructed his government to explore how “third countries” could set up field hospitals to treat Gaza residents, as well as to consider docking a large hospital ship off the coast of Gaza.

Israel's First Victory
Tal Becker, legal adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel

But this dossier, according to critics, was of course carefully edited. It does not mention most of the military instructions and orders given by the Cabinet and the IDF leadership in the first 10 days after the Hamas attack on Israel, when in response all aid to the residents of Gaza was completely blocked, starting with access to the electricity and water that Israel normally supplies there.

The decisions of the International Court of Justice (often confused with the International Criminal Court in The Hague), the highest judicial body of the United Nations, are binding. At the same time, this court has very few means of enforcing its decisions. Nevertheless, the ruling could increase international pressure on the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the war in Gaza.

The situation in the region remains tense and a peaceful solution to the conflict seems increasingly difficult.

It is important to remember that every life matters, and every action taken in response to violence must be aimed at protecting the innocent and ensuring peace and stability.

UNRWA Response

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA has issued a statement according to which the organization has launched an investigation against its employees who participated in the October 7 terrorist attack or engaged in direct incitement to it. At the moment, dozens of such cases are known, and even thousands if we talk about incitement and justification of the terrorist attack.

The statement itself was issued after the UN International Court of Justice ruling on provisional measures against Israel. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the timing had to do with the fact that the organization didn’t want to give the court an argument against the South African accusation.

As a first reaction to the organization’s announcement, the US is cutting off funding to the entity. Hopefully, other countries will follow suit.

We ask you to continue to spread the truth with us. The world needs to know what is happening in the Middle East.

Photo published under section 27a of the Israeli Copyright law. If you are the owner of this photo, please contact our website.



A daily newsletter of the latest news. We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy to learn more.


There’s no content to show here yet.

wpSolution Live Chat

Let’s Write A Story Together!