A rocky road to international justice for Palestine

Palestinian medical workers wheel a wounded baby on a stretcher to Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on 18 November 2012. AFP/Mahmud Hams

Published Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ahmad al-Dalu is to seek justice at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the 2012 Israeli massacre that flattened an entire building, killing all ten occupants and two from the adjacent building.

At 2:30 pm, on 18 November 2012, amidst another siege on the open-air prison of Gaza, an Israeli warplane bombed a building, killing 10 family members from the al-Dalu family.

After a four-day search, they found, among those killed, three children between the ages of four and seven, and a nine-month-old baby.

The hope is that cases such as the al-Dalu family massacre might be submitted to the International Criminal Court and that Israeli decision-makers and actors could then be tried as individuals for war crimes, now that Palestine is a non-member UN state.

The UN General Assembly last week approved Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ bid to upgrade the status of Palestine to that of a non-member state, despite warnings that Israel would take punitive actions against Abbas, if he were to go ahead with the move.

The upgrade offers Palestinians access to a range of UN agencies and also potentially to the ICC, which is based in The Hague.

With the success of the upgrade, Israel began implementing punitive measures, including a plan to build 3000 settlements in a previously no-go area; building in the sensitive E1 corridor was seen as measure that might destroy all possibility for a two-state solution.

But Israeli rhetoric on the upgrade is seemingly inconsistent with their actions now that the deal has gone through.

Israeli President Shimon Peres told AFP in an exclusive interview on Thursday, that Abbas is still a "serious partner" for peace despite his successful bid at the UN.

"I tried to influence him not to do it right now. I told him: look it's not the proper time to do it," Peres said. "But I still believe he's a serious partner and a serious man and I have respect for him."

There is also talk that the upgrade might be more beneficial for Israel, than it is for Palestine, given that it might not be so easy for Palestine, as a non-member state, to join the ICC or submit their cases for justice post-Israeli criminal action.

And there is the risk that Palestinians themselves, once they become ICC members, and are then under the jurisdiction of the court, could also be brought to court. This might produce a cold-war effect, once personal politics and international pressures come into play, where neither the Palestinians, nor the Israelis seek 'justice' via legal mechanisms.

Ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert had said on Wednesday that he was "not sure there was a reason to oppose the request from the Palestinian Authority to upgrade their status."

He added that the UN vote last week served Israeli interests more than Palestinian ones because it boosted hopes for a two-state solution.

Israeli officials had been opposed to the one-state solution, because this would mean the end of the "Jewish" state and their justification for Jewish-supremacist guiding ideology.

Many Palestinians had previously abandoned the two-state solution, fearing that the divided left-over land, now being called "Palestine," did not provide a foundation for a viable state and that Palestinians would remain subject to Israel's will: ultimately crystallizing an oppressive, apartheid structure.

Some had preferred a move towards a one-state solution: a struggle for a one-man, one-vote set-up. It was an option that various groups saw as the only possible way to an eventual healthy living situation, given Israel's continued expansion and already present oppressive control over the state.

Israel has, prior to, and since their declared creation, maintained violent policies aimed at "creating facts on the ground." As has become common-place, once their citizens and houses settle on Palestinian land, after the illegal bulldozing and seizure of Palestinian property, they go on to ask the international community how one might even suggest the forcible transfer of Jewish "residents," despite the clear Israeli violations of international law in the creation of such settlements.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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