Egypt Joins ICJ Case Against Israel as one official warns Rafah Operation puts Peace at risk

With the IDF deepening its ground operations in Rafah, a senior Egyptian official told The Associated Press on Sunday that Cairo had lodged protests with Israel, the US, and European governments, warning that its peace treaty with Israel, a cornerstone of regional stability, was in jeopardy.



The news agency did not publish any additional comments from the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

At the same time, at a press conference in Cairo with his Slovenian colleague, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry attempted to allay concerns about the peace deal’s survival.

“The peace agreement with Israel has been Egypt’s strategic choice for 40 years, and it represents a core pillar of peace in the region for peace and stability,” he said, adding that there are mechanisms in place to address violations of the accord.

Nonetheless, Egypt said on Sunday that it will back South Africa’s ongoing complaint in the International Court of Justice charging Israel of genocide in Gaza.

The Egyptian statement stated that the choice “comes in light of the worsening severity and scope of Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, and the continued perpetration of systematic practices against the Palestinian people, including direct targeting of civilians and the destruction of infrastructure in the Strip, and pushing Palestinians to flee.”

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands, is investigating South Africa’s accusation that Israel’s aerial and ground offensive in Gaza, begun following Hamas’ October 7 massacre, is directed at “the destruction of the population” in the Palestinian enclave.

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Israel rejects the accusations as false and libellous, claiming that it respects international law and has the right to defend itself after 3,000 Hamas-led terrorists stormed across the border into Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and seizing 252 hostages in a wave of brutality and sexual assault.

The International Court of Justice agreed in January to consider South Africa’s charges that Israel breached some rights provided by the Genocide Convention during its assault on Gaza and ordered emergency steps, including a request for Israel to halt any possible acts of genocide.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has declined to respond.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s notification came as Israeli troops continued to operate near the Egypt-Gaza border.

Egypt has declared it will not open its borders to allow a substantial number of Gazans to flee the conflict. Israeli troops have controlled the Gaza side of the Rafah Crossing, and Egypt has refused to coordinate the delivery of aid.

The statement urged the international community to push for a cease-fire in Gaza and the termination of the Rafah operation.

While Egypt has hosted intermittent discussions aimed at negotiating a cease-fire and hostage release agreement, Cairo has also been harshly critical of Israel and its handling of the ongoing battle against Hamas. However, the potential of a massive ground offensive in Gaza’s southernmost city, located near the border with Egypt, has heightened such opposition.

On Saturday, the Israeli military began calling on Palestinians in new Rafah neighbourhoods to evacuate as it continued its offensive against the terror group in the southern Gaza Strip.

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According to the Wall Street Journal, Egyptian officials warned in February that the decades-long peace treaty between Egypt and Israel may be cancelled if Israeli Defence Forces troops entered Rafah or if any of Rafah’s refugees were forced southward into the Sinai Peninsula.

Egypt has stationed tanks along its border with Gaza in an effort to prevent a major influx of refugees, having reinforced the border wall structurally and with surveillance equipment since the start of the war.

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