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PA requests ICC speed up investigation into Israeli settlements

Image of Saeb Erekat [file photo]
Image of Saeb Erekat [file photo]

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to speed up rulings on key issues including Israeli settlements, an official has told Arab News.

According to the online news site, Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), is reported to have asked ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to expedite rulings on three Palestinian files in order to open a judicial inquiry into the Israeli government’s violations of international law.

The request to the ICC comes as the Israeli Knesset is expected to vote today on a bill retroactively legalising about 4,000 settler homes built on privately owned Palestinian land, a measure the Israeli attorney-general has said is unconstitutional.

“Upon meeting with the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, we told her that the State of Palestine, which is a member of the ICC, has submitted three files regarding the settlements, the issue of Jerusalem and Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails,” Erekat said, adding that this comes in light of last week’s Israeli decision to build more than 3,066 housing units in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The new bill, which is backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition, had been expected to pass in yesterday’s session, but a filibuster threat from the opposition and discussions over its final wording slowed progress.

“The Israeli government has taken these racist decisions in an attempt to confer legitimacy on these illegal settlements,” Erekat said.

“Therefore, we asked the ICC’s chief prosecutor and the Judicial Council of the International Tribunal to speed up issuing rulings for the Palestinian files in order to open a judicial inquiry into the Israeli government’s violations,” he added.

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