Habeck alleges that Israel is breaching international legal norms.

Israel Faces Intensified Pressure Over Gaza War as International Court Delivers Verdict; Vice Chancellor Habeck Joins Critics With Strong Remarks.

May 27, 2024
4 min read
NewsConflictsFamineUSAIsraelMiddle EastRobert HabeckHamasICCBenjamin NetanyahuPalestinian territoriesOlaf ScholzTerrorist attackKarim KhanGaza StripJusticeTel AvivGround offensiveCrimeUNMilitary deploymentRafahBerlinInternational Court of JusticeFederal GovernmentJoav GalantWarHostagesGaza
Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck had strong words for Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip at the...
Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck had strong words for Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip at the Democracy Festival in Berlin.


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Robert Habeck, Vice Chancellor, has rebuked Israel's actions in the Gaza conflict as violating international law. "Israel must adhere to international law. The starvation, the torment of Palestinians, and the attacks in Gaza are—as we're presently seeing in court—inconsistent with international law," Habeck remarked during a public conversation at the Democracy Festival celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Basic Law in Berlin.

"This implies that Israel has indeed trespassed boundaries there, and it should not do so," Habeck continued while highlighting that Hamas in Gaza could immediately end the war by relinquishing its weapons.

On Monday, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor issued arrest warrants for alleged crimes against humanity against Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Joav Galant. Although the court hasn't yet decided on these warrants, it issued an order on Tuesday, instructing Israel to discontinue the military operation in Rafah.

In response to South Africa's plea, the International Court of Justice directed Israel to halt their military operation in Rafah. Scholz and Habeck, the German government, cautioned against a large-scale attack in Rafah. "We believe that military operations must always respect the rules of international law," stated Scholz during a gathering in his constituency. "For this reason, we have always been adamant in emphasizing that we can't envisage an offensive in Rafah without dreadful, reckless human casualties," Habeck added.

The German government adamantly maintained that Israel should not carry out the aforesaid attack in the manner they conducted it in the Gaza Strip, which involved bombing refugee camps and more.

Despite the International Court of Justice's order, Israel pursued their military operation in Rafah. Israeli troops killed a number of Palestinian gunmen, according to the Israeli military. Moreover, various arms caches and tunnel shafts were identified in Rafah. One civilian was killed in an Israeli airstrike as per Wafa, a Palestinian news agency, citing hospital staff. The report could not be independently verified immediately.

Israel dismissed accusations. The Israeli Foreign Ministry and the National Security Bureau’s statement boasted that Israel had not conducted military operations in Rafah with living conditions potentially leading to the complete or partial annihilation of Palestinian civilians. Israel would persist in allowing humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip and adhere to the law to minimize harm to the Gaza civilian population. Their response didn't comment on the ICJ's orders.

US: "We have already expressed our stance on Rafah"

The US State Department addressed the ICJ ruling by stating, "We've already expressed our stance on Rafah," a department spokesperson said to the German Press Agency. As Israel's key ally, the US had previously mentioned the policies in Rafah had not reached the scale they cautioned against.

The US opposes a significant Israeli ground offensive in Rafah. The operations conducted so far have been more pinpointed and limited and have not entailed massive military operations in densely populated urban regions, according to Jake Sullivan, President Biden's security advisor.

The conflict stemmed from an unparalleled massacre by terrorists affiliated with Hamas and other radical factions at the Israeli border on October 7 last year. More than 1,200 casualties resulted, and over 250 people were abducted in the Gaza Strip. Via the Hamas-controlled healthcare authority, the Palestinian death toll exceeded 35,800 due to Israel's subsequent military endeavor in Gaza.

Despite an impasse in the indirect negotiations regarding the release of hostages and a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip since April, Israel, Qatar, and the US have expressed interest in continuing these discussions. According to a well-connected Israeli journalist, Barak Ravid, this decision stems from talks held in Paris among the CIA Director William Burns, Mossad chief David Barnea, and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

These indirect negotiations, with Egypt, Qatar, and the US mediating, revolve around Hamas releasing the Israeli hostages they have abducted in the Gaza Strip. In return, Israel will free a substantial number of Palestinian prisoners from their jails. In addition, the Jewish state will halt its military operations in the Gaza Strip - whether for a brief or permanent duration is another meeting point of contention in the complex deal.

On Thursday, the Israeli war cabinet widened the scope of their negotiating team, rendering it possible to resume indirect trading between Israel and Hamas.

Giant waves and stormy waters have wreaked havoc on the provisional landing pier for humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip, which was developed only a week ago. According to the US Central Command (Centcom) responsible for the Middle East region, four US military vessels assisting with the operation were displaced due to the choppy waves. Of these, two boats were now sitting on the beach near the makeshift pier close to Gaza. The other two ships were trapped off the Israeli coast close to Ashkelon, a city about 15 kilometers from Gaza.

In response, the Israeli military is assisting with rescuing all four vessels, as mentioned in the statement. US troops will not be entering the Gaza Strip, and there have been no reported casualties. The pier is still functioning. Centcom has pledged to provide updates about the situation.

Prior to this report, onlookers noted the temporary aid port was not currently in use. Workers are currently repairing the damage. The Israeli news network N12 reported that parts of the dock had been pushed to the nearby coast at Ashdod by the powerful currents. Ashdod is approximately 30 kilometers away from Gaza.

A week ago, the temporary facility was finished. Merchant vessels provide aid supplies from Cyprus to a platform afloat a few kilometers from the coast of Gaza.

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