An Israeli female soldier sits atop a tank in a...

An Israeli female soldier sits atop a tank in a staging area near the Gaza border in southern Israel, Friday, May 24, 2024. Credit: AP/Tsafrir Abayov

The International Court of Justice on Friday ordered Israel to end its military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah and to open the nearby border crossing for crucial humanitarian aid. The top United Nations court also said Israel must give war crimes investigators access to Gaza.

However, the judges stopped short of ordering a full cease-fire across the entire Palestinian territory, and Israel is unlikely to comply with the court's ruling. South Africa accuses Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians during the Gaza war, which Israel vehemently denies.

In the past two weeks, more than a million Palestinians fled Rafah as Israeli forces pressed deeper into the city. People displaced by fighting lack shelter, food, water and other essentials for survival, the U.N. says. Israel says it needs to invade Rafah to destroy Hamas militants’ last stronghold.

Egypt said Friday it agreed to send U.N. humanitarian aid trucks through the Kerem Shalom border crossing, Israel’s main entry point into southern Gaza. But it remains unclear if the trucks will be able to enter because fighting still rages in Rafah.

Israeli bombardments and ground offensives in Gaza have killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to the Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Israel launched its war in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed about 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250. Israel says around 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more.

Currently:

This combo from photos provided by Hostages Families Forum Headquarters...

This combo from photos provided by Hostages Families Forum Headquarters shows from left, Michel Nisenbaum, 59, Hanan Yablonka, 42, and Oryon Hernandez Radoux, 30. The bodies of three more hostages killed on Oct 7. were recovered overnight from Gaza, Israel's army said Friday May 24, 2024. Credit: AP

— Egypt agrees to send aid trucks through Israeli crossing to Gaza, but impact is unclear.

— Top U.N. court orders Israel to halt military operation in Rafah, although Israel is unlikely to comply.

— How does this end? With Hamas holding firm and fighting back in Gaza, Israel faces only bad options.

— U.N. Security Council approves resolution decrying attacks on the U.N. and aid workers.

A gunman holds up his weapon as mourners carry the...

A gunman holds up his weapon as mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, with some draped in the Islamic Jihad militant group flags, during their funeral in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. Credit: AP/Leo Correa

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here's the latest:

UN SAYS OPERATION TO DELIVER GAZA AID FROM US-BUILT PIER HAS STABILIZED

UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations says that after “a rocky start” the operation to deliver aid that arrived from a U.S.-built pier is stabilized and 97 trucks made it to the World Food Program warehouse though some had been looted.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters Friday that the looting – which he called hungry people self-distributing aid – took place in the first two day.

The first aid transported by sea that used the U.S. floating dock arrived on Friday. But on Saturday, 11 of the 16 trucks in an aid convoy were stripped of food and other humanitarian items enroute to a U.N. World Food Program warehouse in Deir Al-Balah.

Operations were halted on Sunday and Monday but resumed Tuesday and Dujarric said WFP found various other routes to get to the warehouse, where 97 trucks have arrived. No trucks were lost, he stressed.

From the warehouse, he said, WFP has notified U.N. agencies, non-U.N. agencies and international humanitarian organizations that the goods can be picked up for delivery to needy Palestinians. Some food has also been sent to large feeding kitchens, he said.

“I think the operation is very much stabilized,” Dujarric said.

But he stressed that deliveries via the U.S. floating dock, while helpful, cannot replace what the U.N. wants to see – massive aid coming into Gaza through land routes.

The Rafah crossing from Egypt to southern Gaza, which was a key transit point fur fuel and food for the territory, has been shut since Israel started a military operation in the southern city, and Dujarric has said only limited aid is getting in through other crossings.

After seven months of war, all 2.3 million people of Gaza are struggling to get food, according to aid groups, with the heads of the WFP and the U.S. Agency for International Development saying famine has begun in northern Gaza.

U.N. CHIEF ‘TRUSTS’ ISRAEL WILL COMPLY WITH ICJ ORDERS ON GAZA

UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations chief “trusts” that Israel will comply with the International Court of Justice’s orders as required by the U.N. Charter and the court’s statute, the U.N. spokesman said.

The court on Friday ordered Israel to halt its military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah and open the border crossing there for desperately needed humanitarian aid, as well as allow access to Gaza for war crimes investigators.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also trusts that the other “parties” – a reference to Hamas and other militant groups – will implement the court's repeated call for the immediate and unconditional release of hostages seized in the Oct. 7 attack, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday.

“The secretary-general has no crystal ball,” Dujarric told reporters. But all U.N. member states have a duty to follow Security Council decisions and court orders, he said. “Whether or not they choose to do so is a question you need to ask them.”

The court’s orders were issued in the case brought by South Africa accusing Israel of committing genocide in Gaza. Guterres noted the ICJ called for the immediate implementation of the court's orders on Jan. 26 to Israel, which include taking “all measures within its power” to prevent the commission of genocide, and to enable the urgent deliver of aid, Dujarric said.

In accordance with the ICJ statute, he said the secretary-general is transmitting the court’s provisional measures to the U.N. Security Council.

“The only way things will get easier for the U.N. is if we see an end to the military action, we see a humanitarian cease-fire, we see the creation of an environment in which we can have unfettered humanitarian access, and during which all the hostages can be released,” Dujarric said.

ISRAEL'S MILITARY SAYS IT KILLED A DEPUTY COMMANDER IN NORTHERN GAZA

JERUSALEM — Israel’s military announced Friday that it killed what it described as a Hamas deputy commander in Gaza.

The military said Friday that Diaa al-Din al-Sharafa was killed in a strike a day earlier, and had been “responsible for overseeing the forces that secured the Gaza Strip’s borders.”

Al-Sharafa was the deputy commander of the police’s National Security department, the civilian police force operated by the Hamas-run Interior Ministry. He was not a commander of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas.

The Interior Ministry had reported on Thursday that al-Sharafa was killed while he in the center of Gaza City in the territory's north. The statement said four other officers accompanying him were wounded.

ISRAEL SAYS ITS RAFAH OFFENSIVE IS NOT CAUSING CONDITIONS FOR ‘THE DESTRUCTION OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE’

JERUSALEM — The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says accusations it is committing a genocide in Gaza are "false, outrageous and morally repugnant.”

“Israel has not and will not conduct military actions in the Rafah area which may inflict on the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” Netanyahu's government said Friday.

The statement came in response to the International Court of Justice ruling that ordered Israel to halt its offensive in Rafah and allow the entry of desperately needed humanitarian aid for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

The amount of U.N. aid entering the Gaza Strip has dropped dramatically since Israel launched its offensive on the southern Gaza city of Rafah on May 6.

AFTER CALL WITH BIDEN, EGYPT SAYS IT WILL SEND AID TRUCKS TO SOUTHERN GAZA THROUGH ISRAEL

CAIRO — Egypt says it has agreed to send humanitarian aid trucks and fuel through Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza for the United Nations, after a call between President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and U.S. President Joe Biden.

The agreement aims to reverse a dramatic drop in U.N. aid entering the Gaza Strip since Israel launched its offensive on the southern Gaza city of Rafah on May 6. Whether it will do so remains unclear, as U.N. officials say they are largely unable to reach the Kerem Shalom crossing to pick up the aid that enters, because fighting in the area makes it too dangerous.

Egypt had halted cooperation with Israel on entry of aid into Gaza after Israeli troops seized the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt during its offensive. Egypt says Palestinian officials must be put back in charge of Rafah crossing. Most humanitarian aid for Gaza comes from Egypt, and most of that was previously flowing on trucks through Rafah.

In a statement Friday, el-Sissi’s office said he had spoken by phone with Biden and agreed to temporarily send trucks carrying humanitarian aid and fuel for the United Nations to the Kerem Shalom crossing. It said Rafah crossing would not be reactivated until a legal framework is found.

The White House has become increasingly frustrated with Egypt over the aid issue and U.S. official have conveyed to Egypt that more aid should be flowing through Kerem Shalom, according to a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter.

The U.N., however, has said it can rarely reach Kerem Shalom to pick up the entering aid because of the untenable security situation. Commercial trucks have continued to flow through the crossing, bringing food and other supplies for sale in Gaza markets.

Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland. The conversation continues on newsday.com/nextli where we invite Long Islanders to share their experiences on this looming crisis of changing weather patterns, flooding, shoreline protection, home buyouts and more to find potential solutions for the region’s future.

Paying the Price: Long Island's stormy future Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland.

Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland. The conversation continues on newsday.com/nextli where we invite Long Islanders to share their experiences on this looming crisis of changing weather patterns, flooding, shoreline protection, home buyouts and more to find potential solutions for the region’s future.

Paying the Price: Long Island's stormy future Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland.

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