Jan 28, 2022
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The Palestinian Authority has given the International Criminal Court (ICC) the green light to begin investigating Israel for alleged war crimes.

PA representative at the UN Riyad Mansour told the media that the PA’s formal acceptance to the court gives ICC prosecutor Fatour Bensouda the means to take up the investigation against Israel without waiting for the PA to be a formal member on April 1.

“It is within her discretion that she can do that,” Mansour said, according to the Associated Press.

Fadi El Abdallah, a spokesman for the ICC in The Hague, confirmed that the prosecutor could begin any “preliminary examination” of potential cases brought to the court by the PA.

On Tuesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that the “State of Palestine” will become an official member of the ICC on April 1. The announcement came days after PA President Mahmoud Abbas signed requests to join several international treaties, including the Rome Statute which establishes membership to the ICC.

On Thursday, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz expressed disappointment with the PA’s decision to pursue war crimes charges against Israel at the ICC.

 

While on a visit to the United States, Gantz said that the IDF works exceptionally hard to prevent civilian casualties. He called the charges against Israel an unnecessary, unilateral step that will only deter the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

The PA has requested that the ICC investigate war crimes by Israel which they say were committed during the recent summer war in Gaza. Should they open the case, Hamas, the governing partner of the PA, could be investigated and sued for the thousands of missiles it fired indiscriminately into Israel.

On Monday, in a preemptive move meant to deter the PA from filing charges against Israel at the ICC, the legal rights group Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center) filed war crimes lawsuits against three Palestinian leaders.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, founder of Shurat HaDin, told Breaking Israel News that “while you can’t prevent the Palestinians from going to the ICC, you can deter them.”

In November, Shurat HaDin filed lawsuits against Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on charges of war crimes. “I want the Palestinians to know that once they get to the court, we are waiting for you there,” Darshan-Leitner explained.

“What the Palestinians did during the intifada is the war crime – crimes against humanity, the crime of genocide. Palestinian leaders need to answer for these crimes.”

LISTEN BELOW: The Consequences of Challenging Israel at the International Criminal Court

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