Palestinian Authority foreign minister to press ICC on war crimes probe
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Palestinian Authority foreign minister to press ICC on war crimes probe

Riyad al-Malki set for talks with chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda days after saying Palestinians would urge court to prosecute Israel over West Bank settlements

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Ryad al-Malki attends the Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting in the Egyptian capital Cairo on May 17, 2018. (MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP)
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Ryad al-Malki attends the Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting in the Egyptian capital Cairo on May 17, 2018. (MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Palestinian Authority foreign minister Riyad al-Malki was to arrive in The Netherlands later Monday ahead of talks on pressing charges against Israel with the chief prosecutor of the world’s only permanent war crimes court.

Malki will meet with prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Tuesday morning a week after dozens of Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire during clashes on the border with the Gaza Strip. Since March 30, tens of thousands of Palestinians have taken part in weekly protests, which Israel says are orchestrated by the ruling Hamas terror group in Gaza and used as cover for attempted attacks and breaches of the border fence.

On Wednesday, a Hamas official said 50 of the 64 killed on Monday and Tuesday were members of the group and the Islamic Jihad terror group claimed another three as its members.

Malki will update Bensouda on the situation in the Palestinian territories and also “submit a referral” on the issue of Jewish settlements during their talks at the International Criminal Court, the Palestinian embassy in The Hague said in a statement.

Afterwards, Malki will hold a press conference outside the court. He will also meet later Tuesday with Dutch counterpart Stef Blok.

Bensouda vowed last week that she was watching the unrest in Gaza closely and would “take any action warranted” to prosecute crimes.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda waits for the start of a trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands. November 27, 2013. (Peter Dejong/AP)

“My staff is vigilantly following developments on the ground and recording any alleged crime that could fall within” the tribunal’s jurisdiction, she warned in a statement to AFP.

“The violence must stop,” she insisted, urging “all those concerned to refrain from further escalating this situation and the Israel Defense Forces to avoid excessive use of force.”

Bloody clashes last week led to the deaths of 64 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

Israel has blamed the Hamas terror group that rules the Strip for the violence in Gaza, saying it co-opted the protests and has used them as cover to attempt border infiltrations and attacks on Israelis.

The Palestinian Authority joined the ICC in January 2015 signing up to the Rome Statute which underpins the world’s only permanent war crimes court.

Bensouda has opened initial inquiries into alleged Israeli war crimes in the past, but has never moved forward with a full-blown investigation.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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