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UN court holds hearing on South Africa's plea against Israel's operations in Gaza

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UN court holds hearing on South Africa's plea against Israel's operations in Gaza

2024-05-17 14:34 Last Updated At:20:57

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) opened its two-day hearings on Thursday regarding South Africa's request to halt Israel's military offensive in Gaza.

South Africa's Ambassador to the Netherlands Vusimuzi Madonsela said at the hearing that the recent Israeli ground military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah is a serious violation of The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and the ICJ should take immediate emergency measures to stop Israel's brutal operation in Gaza.

South Africa requested to add the withdrawal of Israeli military from Rafah into the additional provisional measures, said Madonsela, adding that "South Africa found itself compelled to return to this Court" to "request the indication of additional provisional measures to prevent Israel's persistent acts of genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza".

In his final submissions, Madonsela requested the Court to order Israel to "cease its military operations in the Gaza Strip, including Rafah", "immediately, totally and unconditionally withdraw the Israeli army from the entirety of the Gaza Strip", and "take all effective measures to ensure and facilitate the unimpeded access to Gaza of UN and other officials engaged in the provision of humanitarian aid and assistance to the population of Gaza".

As the hearing went on, civilian groups held gatherings outside the Court, urging Israel to immediately stop its military operation in Gaza.

"To stop now immediately, not tomorrow, enough is enough. How many people must be dead to stop this occupy, this war against the civilian people. What happens now in Gaza [is] not against Hamas, [it is] against the Palestinian people," said Wartege Assad, president of the Palestinian Community in the Netherlands.

Israel's argument will be presented to the ICJ on Friday, with a ruling expected in the coming weeks.

Thursday's hearing marked the third session of the International Court of Justice on the Israeli "genocide case" at the request of South Africa. So far, many countries have joined South Africa in the accusation against Israel. Libya, Nicaragua and Colombia have filed formal application and Egypt recently said it will join the case.

UN court holds hearing on South Africa's plea against Israel's operations in Gaza

UN court holds hearing on South Africa's plea against Israel's operations in Gaza

UN court holds hearing on South Africa's plea against Israel's operations in Gaza

UN court holds hearing on South Africa's plea against Israel's operations in Gaza

UN court holds hearing on South Africa's plea against Israel's operations in Gaza

UN court holds hearing on South Africa's plea against Israel's operations in Gaza

Members of the international science community are eying up further collaboration with China in deep space exploration as they look to share the benefits of the country's historic Chang'e-6 mission, which has now returned to Earth with precious samples obtained from the far side of the moon.

The Chang'e-6 mission concluded its 53-day journey on Tuesday when the return capsule touched down in the Siziwang Banner of north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, becoming the first spacecraft to successfully retrieve and return samples from the mysterious lunar far side, and paving the way for scientists to uncover deep secrets about our celestial neighbor.

Global experts have hailed the historic mission as being significant for the entire world, and say they are keen to cooperate so as to learn more about the important findings from the moon.

"That's a big piece of news actually and it was on the TV and on all the world news. This is definitely very good and very successful news for the very successful project. Because it's the first time in the history of mankind that some kind of vehicle has landed on the other side of the moon and gets back [to Earth with samples]. Russia is one of the pioneers in studying the Moon, and now it's also developing its lunar program, so I think that Russia and China can be cooperating much in this regard," said Kirill Babaev, director of the Institute of China and Contemporary Asia of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Luciana Filomena, a researcher at the laser altimetry lab of Italy's National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), highlighted the importance of carrying out a deep geological study into the precious findings obtained from the lunar far side, and said Italy has already enjoyed good relations with China in terms of space cooperation.

"It is important to study the mineral composition of the lunar far side. This requires a precise sampling on the moon's far side. Samples collected by Chang'e-6 probe will help with the study of the geological and geomorphic evolution of the moon. Italy has been cooperating with China on the laser retro-reflector installed on the probe since more than 10 years ago and we are very proud of this," said Filomena.

The momentous Chang'e-6 mission was considered one of the most complex and challenging undertakings in China's space exploration efforts to date, as the country attempted a feat never dared before.

After launching from the tropical southern island province of Hainan on May 3, the mission overcome numerous obstacles during its various stages, with the Queqiao-2 relay satellite -- which was put into position shortly before the mission to aid communication with the 'dark side' of the moon -- helping the probe touch down at the designated lunar landing area in the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) Basin on June 2 to begin its pivotal sampling work.

Noting how Chang'e-6 was able to meet these various challenges, Charles Mpho Takalana, head of secretariat of the African Astronomical Society, commended the technological achievements of the mission and expressed hope that scientists in other countries could reap the rewards.

"I think this was a good demonstration of the technologies that we are becoming more and more capable [with]. Also I think it's something to really congratulate our Chinese colleagues on. Also we do science as a global endeavor and I would hope that from this mission that even various other parts of the world could sort of benefit from this," said Takalana.

The return of the Chang'e-6 probe also attracted significant headlines from international media outlets. China had already been the first country to achieve a successful soft landing on the moon's far side back in 2019, and has now seen another major milestone in its space exploration program.

Reuters reported the probe's successful touchdown, and said the study of these samples will increase understandings of the formation of Earth, the moon, and the solar system.

CNN also reported the historic mission represents a "major step forward" and could advance efforts to learn how to use resources on the moon for future space exploration.

Agence France-Presse said in its report that China has completed its "technically complex" 53-day mission which heralds a world first, returning to Earth with soil and rock samples from the lunar far side which hold "great research promise".

The BBC, meanwhile, also hailed China's mission which brought back the first batch of samples from the unexplored lunar far side, which are eagerly awaited by scientists, who hope they will provide answers to key questions about planetary formation, its report said.

Int'l experts eye up deeper space cooperation with China following historic Chang'e-6 return

Int'l experts eye up deeper space cooperation with China following historic Chang'e-6 return

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