Why the ICJ has ordered Israel to stop the war on Rafah

Yossi Schwartz ISL (RCIT section in Israel/Occupied Palestine), 26.05.2024 

On Friday May 24 the ICJ has given the following orders and said:

“1. The Court considers that, in conformity with its obligations under the Genocide Convention, Israel must immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.  

2. The Court is also of the view that, in order to preserve evidence related to allegations of acts falling within the scope of Article II and Article III of the Genocide Convention, Israel must take effective measures to ensure the unimpeded access to the Gaza Strip of any commission of inquiry, fact-finding mission or other investigative body mandated by competent organs of the United Nations to investigate allegations of genocide

3. The Court also considers that the catastrophic situation in Gaza confirms the need for the immediate and effective implementation of the measures indicated in its Orders of 26 January 2024 and 28 March 2024, which are applicable throughout the Gaza Strip, including in Rafah. In these circumstances, the Court finds it necessary to reaffirm the measures indicated in those Orders. In so doing, the Court wishes to emphasize that the measure indicated in paragraph 51 (2) (a) of its Order of 28 March 2024, requiring the “unhindered provision at scale by all concerned of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance”, necessitates that the Respondent maintain open land crossing points, and in particular the Rafah crossing”[i].[ii]

At the same time the ICJ’s decision did not condition Israel halting its Rafah operation to return the hostages. Hamas is not a party to the court, and from a legal point of view it can continue the fight. It is clear from these orders and in particular the first one that the ICJ ordered Israel to stop its military attack on Rafah – Israel must immediately halt its military offensive (in Rafah). It is also forbidden for Israel to take any other action in Rafah that can bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part on the Palestinian group in Gaza.

While most countries interpret the orders of the ICJ to mean that Israel must stop the war on Gaza and any other actions that can bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part on the Palestinian group in Gaza  The Zionists monster who want to continue with the genocide misinterpret the first order to mean that Israel can continue with the war on Rafah and any other place in Gaza on condition that the war may not  inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

In any case since the ICJ does not have means to enforce its orders, they must be brought to the UNSC where most likely the US imperialism partner to the genocide by Israel will impose its veto. However, the decisions of the ICJ will have influence, and further isolate the Zionist monsters in all spheres. They will assist the pro- Palestinian movement.

Unlike the ultra-left that argue that the imperialist courts will never give orders against Western Imperialist states in the real world, these courts that we do not trust act under the will of the imperialist on one hand and the pressure of the masses on the other. The proof is reality. The ICJ ordered Israel to stop the war on Rafah but not the war on Gaza and gave Israel one month to report what it has done to fulfill the orders.

The only way to liberate the Palestinians is by the Arab revolution of the workers at the head of the oppressed masses led by revolutionary working-class parties. This revolution will form Palestine as red and Free from the river to the sea. A state where the Palestinian refugees will exercise their right of return and the Israeli Jews will enjoy the civil rights of a minority. That does not mean that we oppose the order that Israel must stop the war on Rafah. Israel must stop the war on all  Gaza and leave it to exchange the Palestinian prisoners with the Israelis in Gaza All for All.

Early Soviet legal experts like Pashukanis represented Marxist analysis of the field of law[iii].

Pashukanis wrote that laws and punishment are the result of the outcome of the struggle between classes. The will of the ruling class is meeting the resistance of the ruled class:

“Understanding of the true meaning of the punitive activity of the class state is possible only by perceiving its antagonistic nature. So-called theories of criminal law which derive the principle of punitive policy from the interest of society as a whole are occupied with the conscious or unconscious distortion of reality. “Society as a whole” exists only in the imagination of these jurists. In fact, we are faced with classes with contradictory, conflicting interests. Every historical system of punitive policy bears tile imprint of the class interest of that class which realized it. The feudal lord executed disobedient peasants and city dwellers who rose against his power. The unified cities hanged the robber-knights and destroyed their castles. In the Middle Ages, a man was considered a lawbreaker if he wanted to engage in a trade without joining a guild; the capitalist bourgeoisie, which had barely succeeded in emerging, declared that the desire of workers to join unions was criminal. Thus, class interest places the imprint of historical concreteness on each given system of punitive policy. Only the full disappearance of classes enables the construction of a system of punitive policy in which every element of antagonism will be excluded. But the question remains of whether a punitive system is still necessary in these conditions[iv]” 

Thus, the more isolated is Israel because of the hostility of the masses to this monster the imperialist courts must make a ruling that limits its military actions and punish its leaders by using the ICC. We can expect that the ICC will approve the request for an arrest warrant.

Israel out of Gaza now!

Exchange All for All!

For Palestine red and free from the river to the sea!


[i] https://www.un.org/unispal/document/summary-of-icjs-order-24may24/#:~:text=The%20Court%20considers%20that%2C%20in,its%20physical%20destruction%20in%20whole

[ii] Evgeny Pashukanis The General Theory of Law and Marxism(1924)


[iv] Ibid

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