Palestinians ask International Criminal Court to probe Israel’s ‘crimes’

Palestinians appealed to the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into Israel’s purported human rights violations and crimes at the Gaza border fence. 

By: World Israel News and AP

The Palestinian Authority foreign minister said Tuesday that he had asked the International Criminal Court ICC) to open an “immediate investigation” into alleged Israeli crimes against the Palestinians.

Israel rejected the request as “cynical” and “absurd.”

Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said he submitted the “referral” to the court during a meeting with the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, in The Hague on Tuesday.

Malki said the complaint seeks an investigation into Israeli policies in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), Gaza Strip and “East Jerusalem since the Palestinians joined the ICC in June 2014.

According to a Palestinian statement, the document that Malki handed to the court’s prosecutors underscores “that there is sufficient compelling evidence of the ongoing commission of grave crimes to warrant an immediate investigation.”

In response to Tuesday’s move at the ICC, Israel said it took a “severe view” of the Palestinian request, calling it a “cynical” and “absurd” step. Israel accused the Palestinians of violent incitement and of exploiting women and children as human shields. Furthermore, the response continued, the ICC had no jurisdiction in the case because Israel is not a member of the court.

“Israel expects the ICC and its prosecutor not to yield to Palestinian pressure and to stand firm against continued Palestinian efforts to politicize the court and to derail it from its mandate,” the Israeli statement said.

Israel is not a member of the ICC, but its citizens can be charged by the court if they are suspected of committing crimes on the territory or against a national of a country that is a member. The ICC has recognized “Palestine” as a member state.

The ICC has been conducting a preliminary probe since 2015 into alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories, including Israel’s settlement policy and crimes allegedly committed by both sides in the 2014 Gaza conflict.

Other Palestinian initiatives

The renewed PLO push at the ICC is just one of a number of Palestinian activities against Israel on the international stage over the past five days.

With the help of Kuwait, the PA has asked the United Nations Security Council to consider providing it with international protection. It also successfully swayed the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday to launch a commission of inquiry into the IDF killing of Palestinian protesters during violent riots on the Gaza border.

UN Human Rights Council Orders Probe

The UN Human Rights Council on Friday ordered a one-sided investigation into the IDF’s actions at the border, which only Israel and the United States opposed.

“This resolution entirely disregards Israel’s right and legal duty to defend its citizens,” charged Israel’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Aviva Raz. Israel immediately declared that it would not cooperate with the inquiry.

The EU’s diplomatic chief, Federica Mogherini, has also called for an independent investigation into the use of live ammunition by Israel’s military.

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, added his voice to calls for an independent investigation into Israeli fire last week after a doctor with Canadian citizenship was reportedly shot by the IDF.