The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has delivered its ruling on the emergency measures requested by South Africa in its genocide case against Israel over its war on the Gaza Strip.
The World Court on Friday did not order a ceasefire in Gaza but told Israel to take measures to prevent and punish direct incitement of genocide in the besieged strip.
ICJ President Joan Donoghue noted that the court had found sufficient evidence of dispute for the genocide case and said it will not throw it out.
Israel has also been ordered to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza and has been asked to report back to the court within a month about how it is upholding the court’s orders.
Here are some global reactions to the pivotal ruling:
Palestine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates welcomed the ICJ’s ruling, saying in a statement it is an “important reminder” that no state is above the law.
Foreign Minister Riyadh Maliki noted that Israel failed to persuade the court that it is not violating the 1948 Genocide Convention.
In a statement he said: “The ICJ judges saw through Israel’s politicisation, deflection, and outright lies. They assessed the facts and the law and ordered provisional measures that recognised the gravity of the situation on the ground and the veracity of South Africa’s application. … Palestine calls on all states to ensure respect for the order of the International Court of Justice, including by Israel.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the ruling as “outrageous”.
In a video message shortly after the court order, he said Israel is fighting a “just war like no other”.
He added that Israel will continue to defend itself and its citizens while adhering to international law.
Meanwhile, far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir mocked the ICJ after the court issued its interim ruling.
“Hague shmague,” the minister wrote on the social media platform X.
The South African government called the ICJ ruling a “decisive victory” for international law.
In a statement, the government said it welcomed the provisional measures and said it sincerely hoped Israel would not act to frustrate the application of the court’s orders.
It further said the ruling marked a significant milestone in the search for justice for the Palestinian people and added that South Africa will continue to act within global institutions to protect the rights of the Palestinians in Gaza.
Outside the ICJ headquarters in The Hague, Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s minister of international relations, told reporters that Israel will have to halt fighting in Gaza if it wants to adhere to the orders of the UN’s top court.
“How do you provide aid and water without a ceasefire?” Pandor asked. “If you read the order, by implication, a ceasefire must happen.”
Hamas hailed the court’s “important” ruling, saying it “contributes to isolating Israel”.
“The [International] Court of Justice’s decision is an important development which contributes to isolating Israel and exposing its crimes in Gaza,” it said in a statement.
Egypt welcomed the ruling on implementing emergency measures.
A Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement also said Egypt “was looking forward to the International Court of Justice demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, as the court ruled in similar cases”, stressing the need to respect and implement the ICJ’s decisions.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed the ruling, saying he hoped it would halt attacks against civilians.
“We hope that Israel’s attacks against women, children and the elderly will come to an end,” Erdogan said in a social media statement, called the ICJ ruling “valuable”.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian called for Israeli authorities to be “brought to justice” after the ICJ ruling, according to Iranian state media reports.
Amirabdollahian also congratulated South Africa and the Palestinian people on “success” at the ICJ.
“Today, the officials of the fake Israeli regime are the most hated people in the world’s public opinion who must be brought to justice immediately for committing genocide and unprecedented war crimes against Palestinians,” he wrote on X.
“I must emphasise that the White House’s all-around support for the crimes of the Zionists will also never be forgotten and is considered and followed up by public opinion,” Amirabdollahian added.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez welcomed the ICJ decision and called on the parties to implement the interim measures the court decreed.
“We will continue to advocate for peace and an end to the war, the release of hostages, access to humanitarian aid and the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, so that both nations can coexist in peace and security,” Sanchez said in a post on X.
Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation said: “Once again, Spain reiterates its call for an immediate ceasefire, the unconditional release of the hostages, immediate and regular humanitarian access and the need to move towards establishing the two-state solution.”
Micheal Martin, the Irish minister for foreign affairs, welcomed the court’s orders, which he said were “final and binding. He added that Ireland expects Israel to implement the court’s orders “in good faith and as a matter of urgency”.
“Bringing about an end to this conflict and to the death and destruction in Gaza is a priority that must be pursued on all fronts – political, diplomatic, humanitarian and legal,” he added in a statement.
Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf said in a post on X that the ICJ order is “clear”.
“The killing and destruction in Gaza must stop. Urgent humanitarian assistance must be provided to prevent more suffering. Hostages must be released immediately,” he said.
“With such death and destruction, we will continue to call for an immediate ceasefire.”
“Orders of the International Court of Justice are binding on the parties and they must comply with them. The European Union expects their full, immediate and effective implementation,” the European Commission said in a statement.
European Parliament political parties
Lawmakers belonging to The Left party in the European Parliament called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza after the ICJ ruling. They noted that while the court has ordered Israel to “take all measures within its power” to prevent and punish acts of genocide in Gaza, complying with the order “means an unconditional, immediate and permanent ceasefire now”.
The European Parliament’s Socialists and Democrats Group pledged “full support to the role and work of the ICJ and primacy of the UN Charter and International Law”.
In a post on X, the group’s president, Iratxe Garcia Perez, also said that it is “now crucial that Israel fully complies with the interim ruling, implements without delay necessary measures regarding the Genocide Convention and the Gaza humanitarian situation and all hostages are released by Hamas”.
Amnesty International said the ruling was important and “Israel must comply with key ICJ ruling ordering it do all in its power to prevent genocide against Palestinians in Gaza”.
“Today’s decision is an authoritative reminder of the crucial role of international law in preventing genocide and protecting all victims of atrocity crimes. It sends a clear message that the world will not stand by in silence as Israel pursues a ruthless military campaign to decimate the population of the Gaza Strip and unleash death, horror and suffering against Palestinians on an unprecedented scale,” Agnes Callamard, secretary-general of Amnesty International, said in a statement.
Human Rights Watch
Balkees Jarrah, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch, described the ICJ’s ruling as a “landmark decision” that puts Israel and its allies on notice that immediate action is needed to prevent genocide and further atrocities” against the people of Gaza.
“Lives hang in the balance, and governments need to urgently use their leverage to ensure that the order is enforced. The scale and gravity of civilian suffering in Gaza driven by Israeli war crimes demands nothing less,” Jarrah said.
Jarrah also noted that the court’s “clear and binding orders raise the stakes for Israel’s allies to back up their stated commitment to a global rules-based order by helping ensure compliance with this watershed ruling”.
Kenneth Roth, the former executive director of Human Rights Watch, said in a post on X that it was “noteworthy” that even the Israeli judge, Aharon Barak, joined the court “on the points of preventing and punishing incitement to genocidal acts and allowing enough humanitarian aid to stop severe deprivation”.
Palestinians in the occupied West Bank
Lubna Farhat, member of the Ramallah city council, told Al Jazeera she was somewhat disappointed by the ICJ decision but acknowledged it was a historic moment.
“We are very grateful and thankful for South Africa for filing this case, but what Palestinians aspired for was an immediate ceasefire,” Farhat said, adding that it was disheartening that the court did not call for an end to Israel’s military operations so humanitarian aid could be allowed into Gaza.
She said the ruling would only “escalate” settler attacks in the occupied West Bank and increase the attackers’ sense of impunity.