A senior Israeli army officer should be investigated by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity, an NGO has demanded. Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) said that the Israel Defence Forces’ former West Bank legal adviser, Eyal Toledano, “was responsible for the legal planning and approval of all IDF policies that violate international humanitarian law.”
The complaint has been submitted to the ICC after a lengthy investigation into activities in the occupied West Bank between 2016 and 2020. That is when Toledano was Israel’s top-ranking legal authority and effective attorney general, explained DAWN.
“What makes the Toledano case so appropriate for the ICC is not just the crimes involved, but also the opportunity for the court to show that international crimes cannot be ‘legalised’ through domestic legislation,” said Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man, Director of Research for Israel-Palestine at the NGO. “Bringing to justice someone like Toledano, an engineer of Israel’s apartheid, is the ICC’s raison d’être and we believe the Prosecutor will see this evidence and reach the same conclusion.”
According to Haaretz, while many complaints have been filed against Israel’s occupation and oppression of Palestinians, it is rare for one to be filed against an individual officer or official.
DAWN was founded by the late journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was assassinated by Saudi intelligence officers in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018. The organisation noted that as head of a legal team of 40 lawyers, Toledano oversaw the demolition of 618 homes, displacing 2,115 Palestinians, an action deemed as collective punishment, one of the most extreme measures that Israel has employed against the Palestinians. After it extended its occupation to the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967, it became a regular practice, not least with punitive house demolitions.
In response to the complaint being filed, the Israeli military said it “thoroughly rejects” the “baseless” accusations. It claims that its activities are carried out in accordance with international law and the rulings of the country’s Supreme Court.
Toledano currently works as Israel’s Military Advocate General. The apartheid state has occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem since 1967. Human rights abuses against the Palestinians and breaches of international law are daily occurrences.