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Canada expects ‘everyone’ to abide by ICJ’s latest Israel ruling, Trudeau says

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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the International Court of Justice’s latest ruling is in line with Canada’s position on Israel’s military operations in Rafah.

“Canada’s position has been clear for many, many weeks now. We need an immediate ceasefire. Hamas needs to lay down its arms, release all hostages, but there also must be no more military operations in Rafah by Israel,” Trudeau said on Friday during a news conference in Halifax.

“The ICJ’s proposals are binding, and we expect everyone to follow them as a matter of international law.”

His comments come after the United Nations’ top court ordered Israel to immediately halt its military offensive in the southern Gaza Strip city, but stopped short of ordering a ceasefire for the enclave.

The sharply focused decision sent a three-pronged message to Israel, ordering the country to halt the Rafah offensive, allow war crimes investigators access to Gaza and immediately increase humanitarian aid into the region.

The ruling is a blow to Israel’s international standing, but the court doesn’t have a police force to enforce its orders.

Benny Gantz, one of three members of Israel’s war cabinet, indicated his country’s military won’t change its course in Rafah despite the recent order.

“The State of Israel is committed to continue fighting to return its hostages and promise the security of its citizens — wherever and whenever necessary — including in Rafah,” Gantz said.

Gantz’s comments Friday were Israel’s most senior reaction to the ICJ’s ruling, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not make an immediate public response.

Trudeau also reiterated on Friday Canada’s support for a two-state solution and called out the Israeli government for standing in the way of that aspiration.

“Unfortunately, the Netanyahu government is creating barriers and blockages to ever being able to create or even imagine that two-state solution. That is where we fundamentally disagree with the Netanyahu government,” Trudeau said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2024.

— With files from The Associated Press.

Nojoud Al Mallees, The Canadian Press

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