UN court demands Israel halt Rafah offensive, but government vows ‘we will destroy Hamas’

close ICC prosecutor is out to ‘demonize’ Israel: Benjamin Netanyahu Video

ICC prosecutor is out to ‘demonize’ Israel: Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacts to the ICC requesting arrest warrants for himself, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and top Hamas leaders on ‘Hannity.’

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The United Nations’ top court has issued an order Friday demanding Israel "immediately halt its military offensive" against Hamas in Rafah, the Palestinian terrorist group’s final stronghold in the Gaza Strip.

The message from the International Court of Justice comes hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Fox News host Sean Hannity that there are four Hamas battalions remaining in Rafah and his country refuses to "leave them there."

"The military ground offensive in Rafah, which Israel started on 7 May 2024, is still ongoing and has led to new evacuation orders," the court said in its ruling. "As a result, according to United Nations reports, nearly 800,000 people have been displaced from Rafah as of 18 May 2024."

It added that the "immense" humanitarian risks "associated with a military offensive in Rafah have started to materialize and will intensify even further if the operation continues."

NETANYAHU SAYS ISRAEL REFUSES TO LEAVE THE REMAINING HAMAS BATTALIONS IN RAFAH: ‘WE’RE GOING IN THERE’

Israel tank near Gaza border

Israeli soldiers operate atop a tank near the Israel-Gaza border on May 21, 2024. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

One of the votes by the court in favor of halting the Rafah operation was made by ICJ President Nawaf Salem, whom the Jerusalem Post reports has had a history of making anti-Israel statements. The Lebanese judge reportedly wrote in 2015 that "Israel must stop violence and end occupation" and "Portraying the critics of Israel’s policies as antisemites is an attempt to intimidate and discredit them, which we reject."

But Israeli government spokesperson Avi Hyman, when asked about the ICJ order on Friday, declared that "No power on earth will stop Israel from protecting its citizens and going after Hamas in Gaza."

"We will destroy Hamas, we will return peace and security to the people of Israel and to the people of Gaza," Hyman added. "We cannot go on with a genocidal terrorist regime on our southern border."

BODIES OF THREE HOSTAGES TAKEN BY HAMAS DURING ATTACK ON ISRAEL RECOVERED FROM GAZA

Palestinians flee Rafah

Displaced Palestinians arrive in central Gaza after fleeing from the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Thursday, May 9. (AP/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Netanyahu said during his interview with Hannity that there was a disagreement with the Biden administration on a large-scale Rafah operation but vowed Thursday to do what is necessary to defeat Hamas.

"We're going in there. We're trying to reach an understanding with the administration. I hope we do, but we'll do what we need to do, what we must do to make sure that Hamas doesn't retake Gaza and do what they promised to do," he said. "And that is to repeat the horrible October 7th massacre."

The prime minister likened Israel leaving several Hamas battalions in Rafah to the Allies leaving 20% of the Nazi army in Berlin during World War II.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks out against the ICC's announcement to pursue an arrest warrant against him over alleged war crimes in Gaza. (Government Press Office)

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"That would be unacceptable," he added. "It's unacceptable to us too."

Fox News’ Ashley Carnahan contributed to this report.

Greg Norman is a reporter at Fox News Digital.

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