Trudeau expects “everyone” to respect ICJ rulings on Israeli military operations in Rafah.

Trudeau expects “everyone” to respect ICJ rulings on Israeli military operations in Rafah.
Trudeau expects “everyone” to respect ICJ rulings on Israeli military operations in Rafah.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) order is “aligned” with Canada’s position regarding the Israeli military offensive in Rafah.

“Canada’s position has been clear for many weeks now: we need an immediate ceasefire, Hamas must lay down its arms, release all the hostages. But there must also be no military operations in Rafah by Israel,” Mr. Trudeau said Friday at a press conference in Halifax.

“The ICJ’s proposals are binding and we hope that everyone will follow them, under international law. »

The highest judicial body of the United Nations ordered Israel on Friday to “immediately stop its military offensive” in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, without ordering a ceasefire in the Palestinian enclave.

This highly targeted decision by the ICJ sends a triple message to Israel: end the military offensive in Rafah, allow war crimes investigators access to the Gaza Strip, and immediately facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid in the region.

The ruling is a blow to Israel’s international reputation, but the court does not have a police force to enforce its orders.

Benny Gantz, one of three members of Israel’s war cabinet, announced Friday that his country’s military would not change course on Rafah, despite the recent ICJ order.

Tough week for the Israeli government

“The State of Israel is determined to continue the fight to secure the release of the hostages and promise the safety of its citizens – wherever and whenever necessary, including in Rafah,” Gantz said.

His comments constitute Israel’s most significant reaction to the ICJ decision; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not immediately react publicly on Friday.

Criticism of Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip has increased around the world, particularly since they focused on the town of Rafah.

This week, three European countries — Spain, Norway and Ireland — announced they would recognize a Palestinian state. And the chief prosecutor of another judicial body, the International Criminal Court, on Monday requested arrest warrants against Israeli leaders and Hamas officials.

Earlier this month at the United Nations, Canada abstained in a vote to formally recognize Palestine, but Trudeau opened the door to supporting a Palestinian state before the current conflict ends. .

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also under pressure at home to end the war, which was sparked when Hamas-led militants stormed into Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and taking around 250 hostages.

Thousands of Israelis have participated in weekly protests calling on the government to reach a deal to secure the release of the hostages, growing in fear for their lives.

The Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas, has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to the territory’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians.

The operation destroyed entire neighborhoods, forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes and plunged parts of the territory into famine.

Netanyahu “prevents” the process

On Friday, Mr. Trudeau reiterated that for Canada, the “two-state solution” constitutes the only solution for the Middle East. But he deplored the fact that the Israeli government is obstructing this process.

“We need a peaceful, secure and democratic State of Israel, and a peaceful, secure and democratic Palestinian State: this is the only solution, in the medium and long term,” the Prime Minister repeated.

“Unfortunately, the current government of Israel, the government of Netanyahu, has not only ruled out the possibility of a two-state solution: it is actively trying to prevent it. »

“This is not what Israelis need. This is not what the people of the region need,” said Mr. Trudeau.

NDP foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson said Friday that the Canadian government should put pressure on Israel to respect the ICJ order.

She called for sanctions against the Israeli war cabinet as well as National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich. “Canada must support this decision (of the ICJ) by increasing pressure on Israel now,” Ms. McPherson wrote on the social network X.

With information from the Associated Press

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