Jan 26 (Reuters) – The World Court on Friday ordered Israel to take action to prevent acts of genocide as it wages war against Hamas militants in Gaza, and do more to help civilians, but it stopped short of calling for an immediate ceasefire as requested by South Africa.
Following are reactions to the ruling by the U.N.-affiliated International Court of Justice in The Hague:
SOUTH AFRICAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
“Today marks a decisive victory for the international rule of law and a significant milestone in the search for justice for the Palestinian people.
“There is no credible basis for Israel to continue to claim that its military actions are in full compliance with international law, including the Genocide Convention, having regard to the Court’s ruling.
“South Africa sincerely hopes that Israel will not act to frustrate the application of this order, as it has publicly threatened to do, but that it will instead act to comply with it fully, as it is bound to do.”
ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU
“Israel’s commitment to international law is unwavering. Equally unwavering is our sacred commitment to continue to defend our country and defend our people. Like every country, Israel has an inherent right to defend itself.
“The vile attempt to deny Israel this fundamental right is blatant discrimination against the Jewish state, and it was justly rejected. The charge of genocide levelled against Israel is not only false, it’s outrageous, and decent people everywhere should reject it.
“Israel will continue to defend itself against Hamas, a genocidal terror organization.
“On Oct. 7, Hamas perpetrated the most horrific atrocities against the Jewish people since the Holocaust, and it vows to repeat these atrocities again and again and again. Our war is against Hamas terrorists, not against Palestinian civilians.”
PALESTINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER RIYAD AL-MALIKI
“The ICJ judges assessed the facts and the law, they ruled in favour of humanity and international law.
“We call on all states to ensure that all provisional measures ordered by the Court are implemented, including by Israel, the occupying power. This is a binding legal obligation.
“The ICJ order is an important reminder that no state is above the law. It should serve as a wake-up call for Israel and actors who enabled its entrenched impunity.”
ISRAELI DEFENCE MINISTER YOAV GALLANT
“The International Court of Justice in The Hague went above and beyond, when it granted South Africa’s antisemitic request to discuss the claim of genocide in Gaza, and now refuses to reject the petition outright.”
SENIOR HAMAS OFFICIAL SAMI ABU ZUHRI
“The International Court of Justice ruling is an important development that contributes to isolating the occupation (Israel) and exposing its crimes in Gaza. We call for compelling the occupation to implement the court’s decisions.”
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
“The World Court’s landmark decision puts Israel and its allies on notice that immediate action is needed to prevent genocide and further atrocities against Palestinians in Gaza. Lives hang in the balance, and governments need to urgently use their leverage to ensure that the order is enforced. The scale and gravity of civilian suffering in Gaza driven by Israeli war crimes demands nothing less…
“The court’s clear and binding orders raise the stakes for Israel’s allies to back up their stated commitment to a global rules-based order by helping ensure compliance with this watershed ruling.”
FOREIGN MINISTER HOSSEIN AMIR-ABDOLLAHIAN OF IRAN
“Today, the authorities of the fake Israeli regime … must be brought to justice immediately for committing genocide and unprecedented war crimes against the Palestinians.”
HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER REED BRODY
“The ICJ didn’t give South Africa all it wanted, but this ruling is a resounding vindication of Pretoria’s decision to bring the case, and a powerful indictment of Israeli policy.
“Most importantly, whatever the Israeli government may say, this binding order will put pressure on Israel, directly and through its allies, to end the collective punishment of the people of Gaza and to allow humanitarian aid.”
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SECRETARY GENERAL AGNES CALLAMARD
“The stakes could not be higher – the ICJ’s provisional measures indicate that in the Court’s view the survival of Palestinians in Gaza is at risk. The Israeli government must comply with the ICJ’s ruling immediately.”
ISRAELI NATIONAL SECURITY MINISTER ITAMAR BEN-GVIR
“Hague shmague” – he wrote, appearing to mock the ruling in a Yiddish-style putdown on the social media platform X.
(Reporting by Reuters bureaus; compiled by Mark Heinrich; editing by Angus MacSwan and Ros Russell)