Things are not looking good in Palestine.  Israeli escalating aggression against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip is now increasingly focused on the city of Rafah in the South, which is right on the border with Egypt. South Africa is now asking the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to order Israel to withdraw from Rafah, while the crisis in the city has prompted Egypt and The Maldives to join the case.

The total Gaza death toll has surpassed 35,000 since the conflict began in October, with the majority of those killed being women and children, according to Palestinian authorities. Millions of people have fled south to Rafah during this war, in part because that’s where Israel said they should go, making the attacks even more shocking.

South Africa initiated its case against Israel in January, accusing the country of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. The ICJ issued an interim ruling in January, acknowledging that it was possible that Israel was risking genocide and ordering it to take measures to ensure that this critical line was not crossed. 

US President Joe Biden also weighed in on the situation, denouncing the prospect of a major offensive in Rafah. He emphasised that while the US remains committed to supporting Israel’s right to defend itself, it would not support actions that could exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The Biden administration also announced a pause on some weapons shipments to Israel.

In a dramatic gesture, Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan shredded the UN charter before the General Assembly, demonstrating extreme outrage in response to a resolution endorsing Palestine’s right to full membership in the United Nations.

His action came just before the General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution which called on the Security Council to reconsider Palestine’s request to become the 194th member of the United Nations. With 143 countries, including India, voting in favour of the resolution and only nine nations, including the United States and Israel, voting against it, the resolution marked a significant step towards recognising Palestine on the global stage.

What effect another ICJ ruling will have remains to be seen, as the first one did nothing to halt the war or even dent Israel’s support around the world.