The Palestinian foreign minister asked the International Criminal Court to open an immediate investigation into alleged Israeli crimes committed against the Palestinian people.
Although Israel is not an ICC member, its citizens can be charged by the court if they are suspected of committing grave crimes on the territory or against a national of a country that is a member. The ICC has recognized Palestine as a member.
Accusing Israel of systematic crimes, including apartheid in the occupied territories, Palestinians on Tuesday urged the International Criminal Court to open an investigation that could ultimately lead to charges against Israeli leaders.
Israel immediately slammed the Palestinian move as “legally invalid.”
The referral seeks an investigation into Israeli policies in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip since Palestine accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction in 2014, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki told reporters in The Hague.
This includes Israeli settlement policies in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, as well as bloodshed in the Gaza Strip. Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group fought a 50-day war in 2014, and in recent weeks, Israeli fire has killed over 100 Palestinians during mass protests along the Gaza border since March.
By ratcheting up tensions with Israel, the referral to the ICC would seem to further diminish prospects of success for an expected U.S. peace plan. US officials have said President Donald Trump is to unveil the plan in the coming weeks.
The last round of peace talks broke down four years ago without any visible process, and mistrust between Israel and the Palestinians is running high.