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Hamas says would abide by Gaza ceasefire if ruled by top UN court

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES, January 27 ------ Palestinian militant group Hamas said it would abide by a ceasefire in its war with Israel in Gaza if the UN's top court ordered one and Israel did the same. 


The International Court of Justice is due to hand down its landmark ruling on Friday in the case brought by South Africa against Israel over alleged genocide in Gaza. "In case The Hague-based ICJ issues a ruling to cease-fire, the Hamas movement will abide by it as long as the enemy does the same," Hamas said in a statement. 


South Africa has alleged that Israel stands in breach of the United Nations' Genocide Convention, signed in 1948 as the world's response to the Holocaust. Pretoria wants the ICJ to issue so-called "provisional measures", emergency orders to protect Palestinians in Gaza from potential breaches of the convention. Orders from the ICJ, which rules in disputes between countries, are legally binding and cannot be appealed. However, the court has little power to enforce its verdicts -- for example it ordered Russia to stop its invasion of Ukraine one month after it began, to no avail. 


Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already hinted he would not feel bound by any ICJ order. "No one will stop us -- not The Hague, not the Axis of Evil and no one else," he said on January 14, referring to the Iran-aligned "axis of resistance" groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. If the ceasefire verdict is ordered, Hamas will also release Israeli captives it holds in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails, the group said. It also called for an end to the ongoing Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, which the group rules, and for allowing humanitarian aid and reconstruction materials into the territory. The war erupted when Hamas and other militants from Gaza launched an unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel which resulted in about 1,140 deaths, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures. Some 250 Israelis and foreigners were also dragged to Gaza during the attack, of which around 132 are still captive, according to Israeli officials. Israel in response vowed to crush Hamas and launched a relentless military offensive that the Palestinian territory's health ministry says has killed at least 25,900 people, about 70 percent of them women and children. 




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