ICJ  international court justice Gaza palestine
Egypt announced on Sunday that it intends to formally join the lawsuit launched by South Africa before the International Court of Justice, which accuses Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

A Foreign Ministry statement explained that the step comes "in light of the worsening severity and scope of Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip."

Israel's tanks were stationed in Rafah on Egypt's border with Gaza on Sunday for the sixth consecutive day since its military invaded the border crossing facility.

Israel initially called the offensive a "precise" operation on specific Hamas targets. But Israel's war cabinet sanctioned an expansion of the Rafah operation on Friday, with its military putting out orders for residents and displaced people to evacuate a new set of east-central Rafah neighborhoods on Saturday morning.

Egyptian officials were cited in press reports on Saturday night denouncing Israel for escalating its aggression on Rafah.

The Foreign Ministry's statement on its intention to join the court proceedings said that the systematic targeting of civilians, destruction of infrastructure, and push for the displacement of Palestinians outside their land have led to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, "in flagrant violation of the provisions of international law, international humanitarian law, and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 regarding the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War."

Egypt called on Israel to "comply with its obligations as the occupying power," and to implement the ICJ's provisional measures ordering Israel to ensure the entry of enough humanitarian aid to meet the needs of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and to not to commit any violations against the Palestinian people in accordance with the the 1948 Genocide Convention.

Egypt will now follow Libya, Nicaragua and Colombia in making formal interventions in the ICJ case. Turkey also recently announced its intention to join the ongoing litigation.

South Africa filed its case before the World Court on December 29, outlining how Israel has breached its obligations under the Genocide Convention, drafted following the Holocaust, in its aggression on Gaza.

The court issued a decision on January 26 which imposed a legally binding obligation on Israel to take immediate measures to ensure that its military does not committ acts of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, and immediately facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Israel denounced the ruling, however. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video statement that he rejected South Africa's case. "The charge of genocide levelled against Israel is not only false, it's outrageous, and decent people should reject it," he said.

On March 25, the Security Council passed a resolution demanding an "immediate ceasefire" in Gaza during Ramadan, which Israel also ignored.

A ceasefire seemed imminent last week when Egypt announced that Hamas had agreed to a draft proposal which included a prisoner exchange and a truce deal with Israel. Yet Israel said it intended to proceed with a ground operation in Rafah regardless, and subsequent talks in Cairo as part of the negotiations mediated by Egypt and Qatar have made little progress, with Israel pushing back against the terms of the deal.

The Foreign Ministry's statement concluded with a call on the UN Security Council and "influential international parties" to take immediate action towards a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and an end to the Occupation's military operations in Rafah, as well as to provide the necessary protection for Palestinian civilians.