Today’s International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) order on provisional measures is outrageous. It does nothing more than promote South Africa’s slanderous and dangerous narrative that Israel is targeting Palestinian civilians in its military operation in Gaza, masked in the language of international law. 

South Africa’s charge of genocide against Israel remains baseless and inexcusable, and the ICJ has not found that Israel is acting in violation of the Genocide Convention. 

Since the beginning of Israel’s self-defensive military operation in Gaza, following Hamas’ brutal attack on October 7, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have gone and continue to go to great lengths to remove civilians from harm’s way. Like the State of Israel, we acknowledge and mourn the deaths of Palestinian civilians who were tragically killed due to Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields and the incredibly challenging circumstances of urban warfare on top of hundreds of miles of terror tunnels constructed by Hamas.

The Court called on Israel to “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.” Ad Hoc Judge Barak insisted in his dissenting opinion that today's ICJ order does not impede Israel’s operation in Rafah, writing that it “requires Israel to halt its military offensive in the Rafah Governorate only in so far as is necessary to comply with Israel’s obligations under the Genocide Convention.” 

Israel's actions in Gaza are aimed at Hamas, and can in no way be understood as intended to inflict conditions that could bring about the destruction of the Palestinian population of Gaza. Barak and several other judges – Sebutinde, Nolte, and Aurescu – also expressed the view that the Court’s order does not impede “Israel’s right to prevent and repel threats and attacks by Hamas, defend itself and its citizens, and free the hostages."

Further, in issuing today’s order, the Court has overreached and strayed from its jurisdiction. The Court’s authority to consider South Africa’s complaint is limited to the obligations of the Genocide Convention, which South Africa used as the basis for its complaint against Israel. In the absence of any evidence that Israel is acting with genocidal intent, it is now micromanaging an armed conflict, which it has no authorization to do, and is acting on the basis of information that it has not had an opportunity to consider, much of which originates from unreliable sources.

The Court’s order is rooted in South Africa’s distorted presentation of the humanitarian situation in Gaza. The Court wrongly dismissed Israel’s insistence that it is actively facilitating the entry and distribution of humanitarian aid and assistance that Palestinian civilians require and will continue doing so, as well as evidence that Hamas continues to attack and obstruct its aid delivery efforts. 

While AJC notes the order’s additional call for the “immediate and unconditional release of the hostages” – a release, persistently blocked by Hamas, that would hasten the end of fighting in Gaza – this portion of the order only serves to emphasize the need for Israel to continue its efforts to bring the hostages home. 


AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York, 25 regional offices across the United States, 15 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC’s mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world. For more, please visit