FOLLOWING the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) decision that Israel must halt its military offensive in Rafah in southern Gaza, B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories has issued a statement.

It called upon the citizens of Israel to open their eyes to the “violence and disregard for human life” which it says are “keystones of the Israeli apartheid regime between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.”

The statement reads:

The international community is clearly signaling to Israel that the war in Gaza has crossed every line.

Following close upon the ICC prosecutor’s request for arrest warrants for Israeli leaders, the International Court of Justice is ordering Israel to immediately halt all military actions in the area of Rafah that will harm civilians.

Israel has proven that the only way it operates in Gaza entails lethal outcomes for civilians and destruction of living conditions. Therefore, it must immediately halt its military activity there, which will inevitably harm more victims.

This is another far-reaching move by the international community, in the face of unacceptable Israeli violence that has already led to an inconceivable death toll and a massive humanitarian catastrophe.

With our government displaying blatant disregard for human life – of Palestinians and of the Israeli hostages – we, the citizens of Israel, must open our eyes. We must listen to the clear call from around the world: the violence, destruction and killing must stop now. If it continues to ignore the catastrophic reality on the ground and shirk its duty to protect human life, Israel will inevitably incur harsher international intervention.

It is time we understood that violence and disregard for human life are keystones of the Israeli apartheid regime between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. So long as this regime continues to exist, there will be more violence and more victims — Palestinian and Israeli. The only way to ensure safety for us all is to end the apartheid regime.

As the first, immediate step, Israel must stop the war and bring all the hostages back as part of a deal.

Also commenting on the ruling, the international development agency, Christian Aid, said that all states should get behind the ICJ’s decision. Julie Mehigan, Programme Manager for Christian Aid’s Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory Programme, said: “In its ruling the ICJ has demonstrated at last that the international rules-based order can work for the protection of Palestinian civilians. The order to halt military actions in Rafah needs to be implemented immediately. Crossings need to be opened so that aid can be delivered to starving people at scale.

“All states must get behind the ruling and take whatever measures are necessary to ensure it is upheld. After almost eight months of terror our partners along with all Palestinian civilians and the hostages in Gaza deserve nothing less.”

* Sources: B’Tselem and Christian Aid