Palestinian foreign minister to press ICC on Israeli war crimes probe

Katie Ramirez
May 22, 2018

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki today submitted a request asking the International Criminal Court to investigate alleged human rights violations linked to Israeli settlement policies.

Israel is not a member of the ICC, but its citizens can be charged by the court if they are suspected of committing crimes against a national of a country that is a member.

Israel, which is not an ICC member, says the court does not have jurisdiction.

Israel said it took a "severe view" of the Palestinian request and called on the ICC to reject the "cynical step".

We call on the global community to assume its legal, human and moral responsibilities to put an end to the decades-long Palestinian suffering by guaranteeing the rights of the Palestinian people under worldwide law and worldwide humanitarian law.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki has arrived at the International Criminal Court to call on prosecutors there to open an immediate investigation into Israel's settlements in the Palestinian territories.

In a statement issued after the Palestinians called for an immediate investigation, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Tuesday noted that she has been conducting a preliminary probe since January 2015 to establish whether she should open a full-blown investigation.

A rally for Palestine in downtown Syracuse
View Slideshow A rally for Palestine in downtown Syracuse. Tom Magnarelli WRVO Public Media

The settlements are "the single most risky threat to Palestinian lives, livelihoods, and national rights", the ministry said in a statement released on Facebook.

The referral sought an investigation into Israeli policies in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip since the state of Palestine accepted the ICC's jurisdiction in 2014, he said.

The Israeli response reflected Israel's strong opposition to the court's potential entanglement in the protracted Israeli-Palestinian dispute and the possibility that Israeli leaders could be indicted - even if by a court they do not recognize. Israel, if it wanted any charges filed against Palestinians, would have to become a member of the court.

The Palestinians believe the settlement case to be their strongest to take to the ICC.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements that are illegal under the global law, which prohibits construction on occupied land. Over 600,000 Israelis now live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, a number that would be extremely hard, if not impossible, to uproot. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement are campaigning in various forms of non-violent measures against Israel until it complies with the precepts of global law.

Jordan and Egypt ruled over those territories for 19 years without global recognition, and then the area was taken away by Israel in June of 1967.

Israel claims east Jerusalem as an inseparable part of its capital - though its annexation is not worldwide recognised. Thousands of soldiers are deployed to protect colonies that have water flows seven times higher than Palestinians and have at ir service main roads.

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