Daily Briefing: Tel Aviv Under Attack from Rafah & the Truth About the ICJ Ruling

HomeIsraeli Citizen Spokesperson’s OfficeDaily Briefing: Tel Aviv Under Attack from Rafah & the Truth About the ICJ Ruling

Hello and welcome to the Israeli Citizen Spokesperson’s Office. I’m Alon Levy. Today is May 26th, 2024, marking day 233 of the October 7th War.

In the past hour, Hamas fired rockets from the Gaza Strip towards the greater Tel Aviv area, setting off sirens. These rockets were launched from the city of Rafah, which Hamas uses as a base for attacks on Israel. There’s an intense international campaign to force Israel to halt its military operations in Rafah and create a safe zone for Hamas to continue attacking Israeli citizens. This campaign is neither based on law nor fact.

I want to share some news about Rafah that may surprise you. Last Friday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Israel can continue to pursue the Hamas terror regime throughout Gaza, including Rafah. Despite this, major news outlets reported the opposite. Headlines from the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN claimed the ICJ ordered Israel to halt its Rafah offensive. These reports are incorrect.

The government of South Africa requested the ICJ to demand that Israel stop its military operations in Gaza and withdraw its forces, effectively leaving Hamas in power and the hostages in captivity. The ICJ rejected this request but used vague language in its ruling. The judges stated that 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.”

Israel responded by affirming that it is not taking any action that could create such conditions. Israel is, in fact, sending massive amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza and urging Palestinians to evacuate Hamas strongholds to avoid harm. The ICJ’s ruling does not necessitate halting operations to dismantle Hamas and rescue hostages. This interpretation is supported by two of the judges who voted in favor of the ruling. They clarified that the ruling does not pertain to Israeli actions that do not risk violating the Genocide Convention. Judge Julia Sebutinde from Uganda criticized the ruling for potentially being misconstrued as demanding an indefinite unilateral ceasefire, which is not within the court’s mandate.

Judge ad hoc Aharon Barak of Israel also dissented, stating that Israel is not prevented from carrying out its operations in Rafah against Hamas as long as these operations do not violate the Genocide Convention. He criticized South Africa for ignoring the threat posed by Hamas and the situation of the hostages, demonstrating that South Africa is acting as the legal arm of the Hamas terror organization.

The ICJ’s ruling did not order Israel to stop its campaign to bring down Hamas and rescue the hostages, but it has given ammunition to those demanding Israel create a safe zone for Hamas to continue its attacks. It also emboldened Hamas to escalate its attacks on Israelis, as evidenced by the recent missile attack on Tel Aviv.

Israel has the right to defend itself against these threats, and it is implausible to suggest that it is now illegal for Israel to neutralize the threat of missiles or to rescue hostages. The ICJ has turned itself into a political tool, exemplified by the actions of its president, Judge Nawaf Salam, a former Lebanese diplomat. Judge Salam’s public attacks on Israel and his promotion of a convicted Palestinian terrorist disqualify him from fairly presiding over this case. He must recuse himself immediately, and all fair-minded people and states must demand his recusal.

The ICJ’s politicized actions only serve to protect Hamas and undermine Israel’s right to self-defense. The media should stop perpetuating this narrative and recognize the ICJ for what it is.

Additionally, the ICJ ruling required Israel to keep the Rafah border crossing open. However, Egypt, on the other side of the crossing, has closed it and blocked aid from entering Gaza. The ICJ’s ruling said nothing about Egypt’s role in this. Last Friday, under US pressure, Egypt agreed to allow aid into Gaza but not through Rafah, instead routing it through the Kerem Shalom crossing, which Hamas has attacked.

The ICJ is effectively giving Hamas strategic advice, encouraging it to concentrate its forces and use civilians as human shields in Rafah. Israel will not stop its just war, which Hamas started with the October 7th massacre and abduction of 252 hostages. Israel will not give up its goals to bring back all 125 hostages, destroy Hamas’s military capabilities, and ensure Gaza can never again threaten Israel.

Thank you for following us on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms. We will now take questions.

Q&A Section

Randy Perry (Instagram Live): How long is it expected to take to eliminate all the rocket launchers in Rafah or Gaza in general?

Alon Levy: The IDF believes Rafah is the last place in Gaza where Hamas still has a significant stockpile of weapons. Israel has dismantled Hamas’s military machine from north to south. The operation in Rafah will take as long as necessary to destroy Hamas’s governing and military capabilities and to bring back the hostages. Israel is committed to keeping civilians safe, urging them to evacuate Hamas strongholds to avoid harm.

Red Alert App: Indicating rocket sirens in the north. What’s happening on the northern border?

Alon Levy: Since October 8th, Hezbollah, the Iranian proxy army in Lebanon, has been attacking Northern Israel daily. This has forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of Israeli civilians. Israel is warning Hezbollah to move away from the border, as required by international law, or face military pressure to ensure the safety of Israeli citizens.

Bob Luck (Instagram Live): What incentives are leading Egypt to keep the Rafah crossing closed?

Alon Levy: Israel discovered at least 50 tunnels from Rafah into Egypt, used by Hamas to smuggle weapons. Egypt’s government and intelligence services must have known about these tunnels. Furthermore, there are reports that Egyptian officials receive corrupt kickbacks from aid trucks passing through Rafah, which explains their resistance to new aid routes.

Shiri (Instagram): Opinion on the vandalism of a cinema in the UK ahead of a film screening about the Nova Music Festival massacre?

Alon Levy: It’s horrific to see efforts to cover up evidence of Hamas’s atrocities on October 7th. The pro-Hamas mob has been denying or glorifying these atrocities. We must counter these lies and ensure the truth about Hamas’s actions is known. Support and solidarity are crucial in this fight.

Claudia: How can non-Jews support Israel and show solidarity?

Alon Levy: Thank you, Claudia. Many Israelis and Jews feel isolated as the world turns against Israel. Support us by sharing our stories, speaking up for Israel, and helping your Jewish friends. Stand with Israel for moral clarity and to protect your own democracies from extremism.

General Questions: How can people support the Israeli Citizen Spokesperson’s Office?

Alon Levy: Tune in daily, share our messages, and speak up for Israel. If you’re in Israel and see yourself as a citizen spokesperson, reach out with your CV via Instagram or Twitter. Join us in amplifying the truth about Israel.

Thank you for joining us. We’ll continue with another briefing tomorrow. Follow us on all social media platforms. Stay safe.

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