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Israel unlikely to heed ICJ on Rafah halt, prepares for diplomatic fallout

Israel is unlikely to withdraw its forces from Rafah despite concerns within the political and military establishment over the country's growing international isolation.

TEL AVIV — There are already indications that Israel is unlikely to abide by a decision issued by the International Court of Justice in The Hague Friday, ordering it to halt its military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. The Israeli government, it seems, believes it still has room to maneuver.

South Africa had asked the ICJ to order a complete cessation of hostilities in the Palestinian enclave. The court agreed with Pretoria that the humanitarian situation there has become catastrophic, but stopped short of embracing its demand in full, leaving Israel with a small opening.

"Israel can argue that since much of the population that crowded into Rafah has evacuated relatively quickly, and that the force it employs in Rafah is not on the scale that was deployed throughout the Gaza Strip at the beginning of the war, the actions should not affect the civilian population," an Israeli legal source told Al-Monitor, speaking on the condition of anonymity. 

Military operations state of play 

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