Friday, June 14, 2024

EU says bloc’s credibility at risk over Israeli disregard of ICJ orders

EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell has stated that the bloc is endangered by the Israeli disregard for orders issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to stop military operations in Rafah in the Gaza Strip.

“Introducing caveats, objections or exceptions based on non-legal grounds damages the rule-based order, damages our values and will damage our international standing and weaken our position on other issues including Ukraine,” Borrell wrote in a blog post.

“If one of the parties is not satisfied by the decision of the Court it can of course address a specific request for interpretation but not disregard it.”

He called on the bloc to do more, stressing, “It is time for the EU to take its responsibilities in front of a catastrophic situation of an unprecedented magnitude. We have to act. Our moral and political credibility is at risk.”

Speaking ahead of an European Union foreign ministers’ meeting, Borrell stated that the World Court ruling, which ordered Israel to halt military operations in Rafah in the Gaza Strip, must be implemented.

Labeling the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court prosecutor as “antisemitic” is unacceptable, the European Union’s foreign policy chief told reporters at the doorstep of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.

“We have to respect the work of this institution and let the court without intimidation decide what they think about this initiative…,” Borrell said.

He also called for respecting the work of the ICC, saying the institution “has been strongly intimidated and accused of antisemitism.”

“I think that the accusation of antisemitism against the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is completely not acceptable,” Borrell stressed.

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan on May 20 requested the court to issue arrest warrants for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, citing reasonable grounds to believe they bear criminal responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Netanyahu claimed that the arrest warrant application was a “new form of antisemitism moving from university campuses to the ICC.”

Regarding the ruling of the International Court of Justice – UN’s top court based in the Hague in the Netherlands – Borrell said the international community must “ask for the implementation” of the court’s decision.

“What we have seen in the immediate hours is that Israel continues the military action that has been asked to stop… This morning, … more than 30 people have been killed in a refugee camp in an attack. This is really a dilemma,” he added.

Borrell also stated that he would propose, during the meeting in Brussels, “to relaunch our civilian border system mission” in Rafah.

“We have been asked to activate this mission … and we need to have an agreement with everybody involved. We will not go there without a strong commitment from the Palestinian Authority,” Borrell explained.

At least 40 people were killed and dozens injured as Israel targeted a camp for displaced people and houses in the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Sunday, according to medical sources and officials.

The attack occurred near the logistics base of the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in Tal al-Sultan, said the Gaza Media Office.

Israel has killed nearly 36,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7 last year.

The military campaign has turned much of the enclave of 2.3 million people into ruins, leaving most civilians homeless and at risk of famine.

The attack comes despite a ruling by the International Court of Justice that ordered Israel to halt its offensive in Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

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