Palestinians in Gaza divide over UN court’s ruling on genocide case against Israel

The court, however, did not order Israel to suspend its military operations in Gaza, one of the main requests submitted by South Africa, while also calling on Hamas to release all Israeli hostages.

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A child receives treatment at a temporary hospital in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, on Jan. 25, 2024. Nearly 1.5 million people are now crammed inside Rafah governorate. The disease is spreading as the health system collapses. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)

Palestinians in the besieged enclave of the Gaza Strip have differing opinions concerning the ruling issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on South Africa’s genocide case against Israel, which ordered Israel to prevent genocide acts in Gaza.

In separate interviews with Xinhua, some locals said they welcomed the ICJ’s decision, mainly because it was the first time to place Israel in the dock over “its (genocide) crimes against the Palestinians in Gaza,” while some others expressed disappointment that a ceasefire is not included in the decision.

Since Oct. 7, 2023, Israel has been involved in a bloody conflict with the Gaza-ruling Hamas after the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement launched an unprecedented attack at southern Israeli towns adjacent to Gaza, killing around 1,200 people and taking more than 200 as hostages.

Since then, 26,257 Palestinians, mostly women, children and the elderly, have been killed, and nearly 65,000 others wounded in Israel’s retaliatory military operations against Gaza, the Hamas-run Health Ministry updated Saturday.

“It is an unprecedented number of causalities since the Arab-Israeli war in 1948… Israel has committed genocide crimes against Palestinians not only during the current war but also in all its wars without taking any accountability,” said Mohammed al-Saadani, a Gaza resident.

The 35-year-old father of three expressed hope that the ICJ “would force Israel to stop its war,” calling for more global efforts to stop the Israeli attacks, “through either the UN courts’ rulings or mass protests against Israel’s genocide acts in Gaza.”

Like al-Saadani, Emad Shamali, a 45-year-old father of six in Gaza, also felt disappointed at the ICJ’s ruling. “Unfortunately, all our hopes of obtaining a UN decision to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza have dwindled,” lamented the man.

He said, “I am afraid that Israel has already gotten the green light from the U.S. administration to end the Palestinian case under the pretext of creating a new Middle East region.”

Hassan al-Serafi, a Rafah-based Palestinian man, adopted a different opinion as he believes the ICJ’s initial decision is the first step towards ending the Gaza conflict.

The 52-year-old father of eight told Xinhua that he believes the Palestinians can defeat Israel through the international court by providing all the documents to prove Israel’s genocide acts against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

Furthermore, he expressed hope that the current negotiations between Hamas and Israel through mediators will result in a ceasefire agreement that would allow the Palestinians to start their new diplomatic campaign against the “Israeli crimes.”

On Friday, the ICJ in The Hague delivered a ruling on South Africa’s genocide case against Israel, ordering Israel to take all possible measures to prevent genocide acts in Gaza and demanding Israel to report on the measures regarding the order within one month.

The court, however, did not order Israel to suspend its military operations in Gaza, one of the main requests submitted by South Africa, while also calling on Hamas to release all Israeli hostages.

South Africa filed the lawsuit against Israel to the ICJ on Dec. 29, 2023, accusing Israel of violating the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide related to Palestinians in Gaza.

Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

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