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Palestinians to file ICC case against Israel in April

PLO member says complaint will be lodged over Jewish state’s alleged war crimes in Gaza, settlement activity

The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands (Vincent van Zeijst/Wikimedia Commons/File)
The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands (Vincent van Zeijst/Wikimedia Commons/File)

The Palestinians are set to lodge their first complaint against Israel for alleged war crimes at the International Criminal Court on April 1, a senior official told AFP on Monday.

“One of the first important steps will be filing a complaint against Israel at the ICC on April 1 over the [2014] Gaza war, and settlement activity,” said Mohammed Shtayyeh, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

On January 2, the Palestinians moved to formally join the Hague-based court in a process which is due to take effect on April 1, setting the scene for potential legal action against Israeli officials for alleged war crimes.

Israel reacted furiously, and quickly moved to cut off millions of dollars in monthly tax payments it collects on behalf of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, exacerbating an already severe financial crisis.

There was no immediate response from Israel, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon refusing to react to a declaration which he described as “speculative and hypothetical.”

On January 16, the ICC announced “a preliminary examination” into Israel’s actions over a period beginning in June which included last year’s war in Gaza in which about 2,200 Palestinians were killed.

UN figures indicate most of the victims were civilians, but Israel says up to half the victims were combatants while the high number of civilian casualties was due to Gazan fighters’ placing their rocket launchers in residential areas.

The Palestinians are also planning to sue Israel over its policy of settlement building on West Bank land they want for a future state.

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