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Egypt to support South Africa's ICJ case against Israel as more flee in Gaza

Court must force Israel to comply with its obligations to allow aid and prevent further abuses, says Egypt
Tents are set up by displaced Palestinians in al-Mawasi, near the border with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on 9 May 2024 (AFP)

Egypt has said it will intervene to support South Africa's genocide case against Israel before the International Court of Justice, the country's foreign affairs ministry announced on Sunday.

In the statement, Egypt called on Israel, as the occupying power, to comply with its obligations, and to implement the provisional measures issued by the ICJ, requiring it to ensure adequate humanitarian aid access to Gaza and to refrain from committing human rights violations against Palestinians.

The ministry said in a statement that the move "comes in light of the worsening severity and scope of Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, and the continued perpetration of systematic practices against the Palestinian people, including direct targeting of civilians and the destruction of infrastructure in the Strip, and pushing Palestinians to flee".

Egypt reiterated its call to the UN Security Souncil and international parties to take immediate action to halt violations in Gaza and military operations in Rafah.

Though Egypt and Israel have been allies since the 1970s, the former has become increasingly critical of Israel's assault in the Gaza Strip, which has left more than 35,000 people dead.

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Egypt has also been concerned about the potential for Palestinian refugees to flee south from Gaza into the Sinai Peninsula and not be allowed to return.

The Israeli military has ordered Palestinians to leave northern parts of Gaza, including Jabalia and Beit Lahiya, as well as central areas of Rafah in the south.

Some 300,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah following Israeli orders last week for Palestinians in the eastern parts of the city to leave.

They were instructed to relocate to the nearby "humanitarian zone" of al-Mawasi, an area which aid agency Unrwa says is already overcrowded and lacks basic services.

On Friday, South Africa called on the ICJ to order additional emergency measures against Israel over its military assault on Rafah.

In a 10-page document submitted to the ICJ, South Africa asked the World Court to order Israel to "immediately withdraw and cease its military offensive in the Rafah Governorate" and to facilitate "unimpeded access" to humanitarian aid and assistance to the population of Gaza, the document reads.

It also demanded the entry of "internationally mandated bodies or officials, investigators, and journalists" into the country for the purpose of "retaining evidence" and also for Israel to submit an open report to the ICJ within one week of Friday, detailing the measures Israel has taken to comply with "all previous provisional measures" detailed by the court.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said he would push on with his plans to invade Rafah in order to uproot Hamas, which was responsible for an attack in Israel on 7 October that left 1,170 people dead and saw hundreds of captured Israelis and others taken to Gaza.

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