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Palestine: 'Israeli war crimes should go to international court'

March 24, 2019 at 3:44 pm

Ibrahim Khraishi, Permanent Observer Representative of the State of Palestine to the UN speaks at the UNHCR special session on “the deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem”, at the United Nations Office in Geneva, on 18 May 2018 [Elma Okic / UN Geneva / Flickr]

Israeli crimes against peaceful Palestinian protesters in Gaza should go to the International Criminal Court (ICC), said the Palestinian ambassador to UN in Geneva on Sunday.

Ibrahim Khraishi’s call came after the UN Human Rights Council on Friday passed a resolution on strengthening the UN presence in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory.

The council said it was “gravely concerned” by the findings of the UN-appointed independent international commission of inquiry, which said Israeli forces may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during the peaceful Great March of Return protests.

“That report should be transmitted to the ICC by the commissioner,” Khraishi told Anadolu Agency, referring to Michelle Bachelet, who heads the council.

Khraishi said that Israeli forces target all people, not sparing children, the disabled, the media, or healthcare providers.

Expressing his hope that the report will go to the ICC, Khraishi said court prosecutors should start investigating Israeli war crimes. Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said restrictions of entry to the US will be placed on investigators examining alleged war crimes involving Israel.

Read: UNHRC condemns Israel’s use of ‘lethal force’ against Gaza protesters

Mentioning British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt saying his country would oppose all anti-Israeli resolutions at the council, Khraishi said: “Our cause was started by Britain’s Balfour Declaration more than 100 years ago. After their mandate, they encouraged Israeli gangs to kill our people and evict them from their houses.”

He went on to say that under the British mandate in Palestine, Israeli forces had damaged more than 500 villages and cities.

Khraishi criticised British “double standards” towards Palestinians, saying:

[the UK] is always asking for accountability everywhere but when it comes to Israel, they are the protectors and they encourage a culture of impunity.

Read: A British Palestinian MP seeks recognition for Palestine in the home of the Balfour Declaration

Since March of last year, more than 250 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more injured by Israeli army fire during protests demanding the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

Israeli forces have recently been targeting Gaza with airstrikes, alleging that burning kites and balloons were sent from Gaza to the Israeli side.

Last week, on March 15th, the Israeli airforce carried out a staggering 100 air strikes in the Gaza Strip. Following the air strikes, Israel warned it would continue to use “uncompromising force” against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip should the UN Security Council not condemn the alleged launching of two rockets towards Tel Aviv. For it’s part, Hamas said that Israel is causing new crises in the Gaza Strip through its military escalation and targeting of Palestinian resistance sites and civilian facilities.

Read: Israel avenges burning balloons with airstrikes on Gaza refugee camp