PLO to File ICC Case Against Israel in April

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

Al-Akhbar Management

A Palestinian boy lies on a mattress admist the rubble of buildings that were destroyed during the 50-day Israeli assault, in Gaza City's al-Shujaiyeh neighborhood on February 26, 2015. AFP/Mohammed Abed

Published Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Palestinians are to lodge their first complaint against Israel for war crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on April 1, a senior official told AFP on Monday.

"One of the first important steps will be filing a complaint against Israel at the ICC on April 1 over the (2014) Gaza war and settlement activity," said Mohammed Shtayyeh, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

On January 2, the Palestinians moved to formally join the Hague-based court in a process which is due to take effect on April 1, setting the scene for potential legal action against Israeli officials for war crimes.

Israel reacted furiously, and quickly moved to cut off millions of dollars in monthly tax payments it collects on behalf of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA), exacerbating an already severe financial crisis.

On January 16, the ICC announced "a preliminary examination" into Israel's actions over a period beginning in June which included last year's aggression on Gaza.

For 51 days this summer, Israel pounded the Gaza Strip by air, land and sea. The Israeli offensive ended on August 26 with an Egypt-brokered ceasefire deal.

More than 2,310 Gazans, 70 percent of them civilians, were killed and 10,626 injured during unrelenting Israeli attacks on the besieged strip this summer.

According to the UN, the Israeli military killed at least 495 Palestinian children in Gaza during “Operation Protective Edge.” The al-Mezan Center for Human Rights puts the number at 518, while the Palestinian Center for Human Rights puts it at 519. All three figures exceed the total number of Israelis, civilians and soldiers, killed by Palestinians in the last decade.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that 3,106 Palestinian children were injured during the assault on Gaza. The UN estimates that 1,000 children will suffer a permanent disability as a result of their injury. Thousands of unexploded bombs and shells pose a danger to civilians returning to areas they fled from during the fighting, putting children at particular risk.

Moreover, the UN said as many as 1,500 children have been orphaned by Israeli attacks that killed their parents, while 6,000 children will have a parent with a lifelong disability.

The besieged enclave has also seen widespread destruction of its infrastructure, reaching levels of devastation that UN chief Ban Ki Moon called “beyond description” in a visit to the Strip on October 14.

The UN said more than 96,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the recent Israeli war on the besieged enclave, over twice the UN's original estimate.

The majority of Gaza’s 110,000 homeless people are children.

The Palestinians are also planning to sue Israel over its policy of settlement building on land they want for a future state.

The roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-infamous Balfour Declaration, called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

In 1948, with the end of the mandate, a new state — Israel — was declared inside historical Palestine.

As a result, some 700,000 Palestinians fled their homes, or were forcibly expelled, while hundreds of Palestinian villages and cities were razed to the ground by invading Zionist forces.

The Palestinian diaspora has since become one of the largest in the world. Palestinian refugees are currently spread across the region and in other countries, while many have settled in refugee camps in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel then occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the Zionist state – a move never recognized by the international community.

More than 600,000 Israeli settlers, soaring from 189,000 in 1989, live in settlements across the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

Settlers act without approval to expand settlements or create new ones in the West Bank, building outposts that are illegal even by the Israeli authorities' standards.

In most cases these settlement outposts are then "legalized" by Israel, and in rare cases they are dismantled.

Palestinians are rarely granted permission to build in the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control, or in annexed East Jerusalem.

Israeli authorities have also allowed Zionist settlers to take over homes in Palestinian neighborhoods both in annexed East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and announced plans to build thousands of settlements strictly for Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem while ignoring Palestinian residents.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

Comments

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><img><h1><h2><h3><h4><h5><h6><blockquote><span><aside>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

^ Back to Top