World News

Palestine asks ICC to probe Israeli 'crimes' against Palestinians

Palestine asks ICC to probe Israeli 'crimes' against Palestinians

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has arrived in The Netherlands, where he will urge the International Criminal Court to launch a probe into alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

Foreign Minister Riad 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.

The diplomatic move comes after widespread outrage in the occupied Palestinian territories and internationally over the Israeli army's killing on May 14 of 62 unarmed Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip, in what was described by rights groups as a massacre.

Palestine exercised its right as a State Party to the Rome Statute - the treaty that established the ICC - to refer the situation in the region to the global tribunal.

The foreign minister emphasized on an investigation alleging that grave crimes are being committed by Israel against the Palestinian people.

In its statement, the Higher Committee asserted that Palestine is exercising its right as a State party in the ICC, and thus "refers to the Office of The Prosecutor the crimes committed by officials of Israel, the occupying power, against the Palestinian people". After acknowledging, prosecution has independence to decide wher or not to open inquiry.

The Palestinians seek all three areas, captured by Israel in 1967, for a future independent state. The United States asked Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to paralyze allegations before ICC in order not to undermine Democrat Barack Obama's presidential mediation efforts against Israel.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki speaks during a press conference at the International Criminal Court
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki speaks during a press conference at the International Criminal Court

Israeli soldiers killed more than 60 Palestinians on 14 May in Gaza, the enclave's health ministry said, during protests focused on the U.S. embassy move from Tel Aviv to the disputed holy city.

"The Palestinian move is not legally valid.the court has no jurisdiction over the Israeli-Palestinian issue since Israel is not a member state of the court and the Palestinian Authority is not a state", the MFA statement wrote.

"The Palestinians continue to exploit the court for political purposes, rather than work towards resuming the peace process with Israel", a statement said.

Israel also said the ICC had no jurisdiction in the case because Israel is not a member of the court.

"Israel acts in accordance with independent and thorough judicial review mechanisms, befitting a democratic state, and in accordance with global law", the Israeli statement said. It is authorized to take on cases that national authorities can not or will not prosecute. Israel has traditionally refused to cooperate with ICC.

In late 2016, the U.N. Security Council also declared the settlements to be illegal. "The use of lethal and other excessive force is a serious violation of global law, yet our efforts to challenge the policy from within Israel have been met with support for the status quo".

Israel claims the West Bank is not occupied because it was captured from Jordan, not the Palestinians, and Jordan does not make a claim to the territory. Anor 200,000 settlers reside in eastern part of Jerusalem, which was annexed in 1980 by decision of Israeli parliament.

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