בית הדין הפלילי בהאג
The International Criminal Court building in the Hague
Photo: Shutterstock
The International Criminal Court building in the Hague

Bereaved Palestinians urge ICC to advance war crimes probe

Mother of medic killed by stray Israeli bullet says hopes court 'reveals the truth behind the Israeli occupation' in investigation of Israel and of Palestinian militants, including Hamas

Reuters |
Published: 03.04.21 , 20:48
Palestinians urged the International Criminal Court on Thursday to push ahead with a newly announced war crimes investigation in the Palestinian Territories which Israel has rejected.
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  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing the court of anti-Semitism, described its decision to launch an investigation as "outrageous", telling Fox News: "I am going to fight this in every place."
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    בית הדין הפלילי בהאג
    בית הדין הפלילי בהאג
    The International Criminal Court building in the Hague
    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    The court's outgoing prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said on Wednesday her office will formally investigate war crimes in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem after the court accepted jurisdiction last month.
    Her commitment to a "principled, non-partisan, approach" could see criminal investigations of Israel and of Palestinian terrorists, including the Islamist group Hamas, which controls Gaza.
    Bensouda has identified the IDF'S use of lethal and non-lethal force against Palestinians demonstrating at the Gaza border fence after 2018 as one possible focus of the investigation.
    One of those killed in the border protests was Razan Al-Najar, a 21-year-old volunteer medic shot by Israeli troops in June 2018 at a protest near Khan Younis in southern Gaza.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Israeli soldiers shoot tear gas from the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border as Palestinians protest on the Gaza side of the border, March 30, 2018
    Israeli soldiers shoot tear gas from the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border as Palestinians protest on the Gaza side of the border, March 30, 2018
    Israeli soldiers shoot tear gas from the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border as Palestinians protest on the Gaza side of the border, March 30, 2018
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Her mother welcomed the decision, calling it "a victory for (all) Palestinians".
    "I hope the ICC achieves justice for my daughter, Razan, and for all other martyrs Israel has killed," Sabreen Al-Najar, 47, told Reuters. "I hope the court takes it seriously, and that it reveals the truth behind the Israeli occupation."
    The IDF said Najar was killed inadvertently by Israeli troops after being struck by a bullet that ricocheted after being fired at someone it described as an "instigator" of violent riots.
    It accused Hamas of using Palestinian civilians as human shields while armed terrorists attacked the border, trying to break through the fence. Israeli officials say there was no intention of shooting at Najar.
    Rejecting the court's jurisdiction, Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said Israeli leaders might try to persuade the tribunal's newly elected prosecutor, Karim Khan of Britain, who takes office on June 15, to shift the ICC's focus.
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    גלעד ארדן אום או"ם
    גלעד ארדן אום או"ם
    Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan
    (Photo: UN Web TV)
    The ICC investigation is "not logical or moral, and certainly shouldn't be the priority of a court that is supposed to discuss the greatest horrors perpetrated by regimes such as in Syria and Iran," Erdan told Army Radio.
    Erdan said the inquiry could put senior Israeli military officers, commanders and politicians under threat of arrest if they traveled abroad.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement on Thursday, calling the investigation a defense of "rights and freedoms" and saying it also covered 2014's Operation Protective Edge in which Israel fought and Hamas militants in Gaza, and Israeli settlement building in the West Bank.
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