Israel Refuses to Cooperate with UN Commission of Inquiry on Gaza


Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki was set to arrive in the Netherlands later Monday ahead of talks with the chief prosecutor of the world's only permanent war crimes court. While Israel has not signed the Rome statute that established the court, if Israeli citizens commit global crimes they may fall under the tribunal's authority. Israel, however, is not a member of the ICC.

Israel is not a member of the ICC however, and the Israeli foreign ministry on Tuesday said it "takes a severe view" of the referral, which it called "a cynical step without legal validity".

Bensouda vowed last week that she was watching the unrest in Gaza closely and would "take any action warranted" to prosecute crimes. "This referral is Palestine's test to the worldwide mechanism of accountability and respect for global law".

Palestinian minister delivers Israel 'war crimes' referral to ICC

"It is vital for the ICC to assume a principled and just stand and open an official, speedy and criminal investigation into Israel's egregious violations being committed throughout occupied Palestine". Fatou Bom Bensouda, a Gambian lawyer and worldwide criminal law prosecutor, has served as the global Criminal Court's chief prosecutor since June 2012.

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.

While the PA and Palestinian NGOs have submitted documents as proof of Israeli government crimes, and requests to open a formal investigation, Palestine has never formally referred a case.

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Maliki said the request would give prosecutors the authority to investigate alleged crimes starting in 2014 and beyond, including last week's deaths during protests in Gaza.

Israel is not a member of the ICC, but its citizens can be charged by the court if they are suspected of committing crimes on the territory or against a national of a country that is a member.

The ICC has been conducting a preliminary probe since 2015 into alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories, including Israel's settlement policy and crimes allegedly committed by both sides in the 2014 Gaza conflict.

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The majority of the worldwide community considers Israeli settlements to be illegal under global law. Over 600,000 Israelis now live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, a number that would be extremely hard, if not impossible, to uproot.

Jordan and Egypt ruled over those territories for 19 years without worldwide recognition, and then the area was taken away by Israel in June of 1967. Israel withdrew its settlements and some 8,000 settlers from Gaza in 2005.

The reasons behind the PA's decision not to make such a move earlier, she explained, were linked to how approximately "one million Palestinians" were on the PA's payroll, adding that "international donors have also played a role in making it clear that they will not support a PA that is actually defending Palestinian rights".

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