ICJ Stops Short Of Ordering Cease-Fire In Gaza And Demands Israel Contain Deaths

(AP) — The United Nations’ top court stopped short Friday of ordering a cease-fire in Gaza in a genocide case but demanded that Israel try to contain death and damage in its military offensive in the tiny coastal enclave.

South Africa brought the case, which goes to the core of one of the world’s most intractable conflicts, and had asked the court to order Israel to halt its operation.

In the highly anticipated decision made by a panel of 17 judges, the International Court of Justice decided not to throw out the case — and ordered six so-called provisional measures to protect Palestinians in Gaza.

“The court is acutely aware of the extent of the human tragedy that is unfolding in the region and is deeply concerned about the continuing loss of life and human suffering,” Joan E. Donoghue, the court’s president, said.

Friday’s decision is only an interim one; it could take years for the full case brought by South Africa to be considered.

Israel rejected the genocide accusation and asked the court to throw the charges out.

While the case winds its way through the court, South Africa has asked the judges “as a matter of extreme urgency” to impose provisional measures.

Top of the South African list was a request for the court to order Israel to “immediately suspend its military operations in and against Gaza.”

But the court declined to do that.

South Africa also asked for Israel to take “reasonable measures” to prevent genocide and allow access for desperately needed aid.

The court ruled that Israel must try to limit death and damage.