Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riad al Maliki asked the International Criminal Court on Tuesday to open an "immediate investigation" into Israeli "crimes" committed against the Palestinian people. According to its website, the court is now investigating 11 "situations", the bulk of them in sub-Saharan Africa, involving allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The latter has also routinely been threatened by the U.S. and Israel not to make any moves in the ICC.
Malki called the request an important "test" of accountability for the ICC.
Maliki submitted a so-called "referral" giving the prosecutor at the Hague-based court the legal basis to move beyond a preliminary inquiry her office started in January 2015.
On May 19, The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in a session voted to begin a probe in the recent deadly Israel-Palestine clashes in Gaza.
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The step was sure to worsen the already troubled relations between the internationally backed Palestinian Authority and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
Malki said the complaint seeks an investigation into Israeli policies in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem since the state of Palestine joined the ICC in June 2014.
The Israeli response reflected Israel's strong opposition to the court's potential entanglement in the protracted Israeli-Palestinian dispute and the possibility that Israeli leaders could be indicted - even if by a court they do not recognize.
The ICC must "accelerate the opening of a criminal investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel", the PLO's Negotiations Affairs Department told the media. Most notably, this referral will cover "crimes associated with the Israeli colonial settlement regime in the Occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem".
Worldwide law prohibits the transfer of civilian populations to occupied territories, and the global community overwhelmingly views the settlements as illegal.
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It also said the ICC lacks jurisdiction in the case because Israel is not a member of the court.
If the ICC were to show intellectual honesty in this case, it could end up ruling that the Israeli settlements are not a violation of the convention and therefore not at all a war crime. In territory between Jordan River and Green Line, which set borders before 1967, some 400,000 Israelis have been installed today in 131 "authorized" sites and in or 97 declared "illegal" by Israeli Government itself.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian leadership of Fatah has frozen ties with the White House over its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Thousands of soldiers are deployed to protect colonies that have water flows seven times higher than Palestinians and have at ir service main roads.
In response to the Israeli position, Hamas stressed that the occupation's rejection of an worldwide commission of inquiry into the recent massacres is evidence of its involvement in a war crime. Israel withdrew its settlements and some 8,000 settlers from Gaza in 2005.
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