The International Court of Justice has ruled that Israel must immediately end the offensive in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. All developments here in the news ticker.

3:31 p.m.: The International Court of Justice obliges Israel to immediately end the military operation in Rafah. With the decision on Friday, the highest court of the United Nations in The Hague responded to a demand from South Africa. According to the judges, the humanitarian situation in Rafah is now disastrous. Further measures are necessary to prevent further damage to the civilian population.

South Africa has already repeatedly called for urgent measures against Israel. This comes as part of the genocide lawsuit that the country filed with the Court in December. In two emergency decisions, the UN judges had already obliged Israel to do everything possible to prevent genocide and allow humanitarian aid. According to South Africa, Israel has ignored these decisions.

Decisions of the World Court are binding. However, the UN judges have no power to force a state to implement them. They can, however, call on the UN Security Council to take action on the matter. All member states of the court are obliged to respect the decisions of the Security Council. However, it seems at least questionable whether the USA would waive its right of veto in the case of a corresponding resolution requiring Israel to withdraw from Rafah.

Friday, May 24th, 1:19 a.m.: The Israeli army says it is continuing to advance against the Islamist Hamas in Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip. Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari announced on Thursday evening that its own ground troops had now reached the Shabura area from where the Hamas terrorists were attacking. “So far we have eliminated more than 180 terrorists in Rafah,” he added. At the same time, its own troops destroyed launchers and rockets that were supposed to be fired into Israeli territory. In addition, tunnel shafts and underground routes were destroyed. They are working on locating more. “The operation on the ground is intense and decisive, with difficult battles in complex areas,” explained Hagari.

7:53 p.m.: In view of the Israeli offensive in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will decide on Friday (from 3:00 p.m.) on South Africa’s demand for further steps against Israel. South Africa argues that it is about preventing a genocide against Palestinians. Among other things, the Israeli military should immediately withdraw from Rafah. South Africa submitted a corresponding urgent application to the ICJ on May 10th.

The decision will be announced by the President of the World Court, the Lebanese lawyer Nawaf Salam, at a meeting in the Peace Palace in The Hague. It will be broadcast live. South Africa has justified its application to the ICJ by arguing that the court’s previous measures in connection with the Gaza war were not sufficient. Decisions of the World Court are binding. However, the UN judges have no power to force a state to implement them. They can, however, call on the UN Security Council to take action on the matter.

Thursday, May 23, 2024, 6:53 a.m.: Egypt has threatened to withdraw from its role as mediator in the Gaza war between Israel and the Islamist Hamas. Continued attempts to cast doubt on Egyptian mediation efforts and its role with false claims will only further complicate the situation in the Gaza Strip and across the region, Diaa Rashwan, head of Egypt’s state information service, said in a statement posted on social media on Wednesday evening Notice. This could “lead the Egyptian side to decide to completely withdraw from mediation activities in the conflict.” He was responding to a CNN report that Egyptian intelligence allegedly changed a ceasefire proposal accepted by Israel without consulting the other mediators.

Since Israel and Hamas are not negotiating directly with each other, Egypt, Qatar and the USA are acting as mediators. According to the US broadcaster CNN, Egypt’s secret service has quietly changed the ceasefire proposal previously accepted by Israel and added further demands from Hamas. When the Islamists agreed to an agreement on 6 May, it did not correspond to the proposal that the other mediators thought had been submitted to Hamas for review, the broadcaster reported, citing three unnamed people familiar with the discussions. The incident caused enormous anger and led to a dead end in the talks. The Egyptian information service categorically rejected the US broadcaster’s statements.

6:22 p.m.: Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit indicated at the federal press conference that Germany would also implement any detention order against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Naturally. Yes, we adhere to the law,” said Hebestreit on Wednesday afternoon. 

This statement caused criticism from the CDU. Party leader Friedrich Merz told “Bild” on Wednesday evening: “The application for an arrest warrant at the same time against Prime Minister Netanyahu and Hamas leader Sinwar is an absurd perpetrator-victim reversal.” And Merz goes even further: “The silence of the federal government up to this point “The government spokesman’s suggestion that Netanyahu could be arrested on German soil is now really becoming a scandal.”

Surf tip: Comment from political expert Krause – The arrest warrant request is disproportionate – and yet Netanyahu is still a problem

1:43 p.m.: France’s Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné has rejected recognition of Palestine as a state at this time. “Our position is clear: recognizing Palestine is not taboo for France,” the minister said on Wednesday after a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Israel Katz in Paris. However, the decision for recognition must be useful, which means that it enables decisive progress at the political level, said Séjourné. It has to happen at the right time.

“It is not just a symbolic question or a question of political positioning, but a diplomatic tool at the service of the solution with two states living side by side in peace and security,” the French foreign minister said. “France does not consider that the conditions have been met to date for this decision to have a real impact on this process.” Previously, Norway, Ireland and Spain had announced their intention to recognize Palestine as a state.

Katz’s visit to Paris follows France’s positioning in favor of the International Criminal Court, whose chief prosecutor had requested arrest warrants against, among others, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the leader of the terrorist organization Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Jihia al-Sinwar. The Paris Foreign Ministry said it supported the Criminal Court, its independence and the fight against impunity in all situations. After the meeting with Katz, Séjourné wrote on is

10:40 a.m.: Norway, Ireland and Spain will recognize Palestine as a state. The three countries announced this on Wednesday morning. The move is scheduled to be formally completed on May 28th. The recognition is “an expression of full support for a two-state solution, the only credible path to peace and security for Israel, Palestine and their peoples,” said the Irish head of government.

Israel strongly rejects recognizing Palestine and immediately recalled its ambassadors from Ireland and Norway. “I am sending a clear and unambiguous message to Ireland and Norway: Israel will not remain silent in the face of those who undermine its sovereignty and threaten its security,” Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz wrote on Platform X. “Today’s decision sends a message the Palestinians and the world: terrorism pays,” said Katz.

The majority of United Nations member states now recognize Palestine as a state. However, this does not apply to major Western nations such as the USA and the majority of EU countries, including Germany, France and Great Britain. Germany is also committed to a two-state solution, but sees the recognition of Palestine as the result of direct negotiations between the conflict parties. 

Wednesday, May 22nd, 8:46 a.m.: Norway will recognize Palestine as a state. The recognition will take place on May 28th, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre announced on Wednesday morning. According to The Telegraph, Ireland is also considering recognizing Palestine as a state.


You can read more about the Iranian attack on Israel on the next page.