Palestinians seek to press war-crimes case against Israel in ICC

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War Crimes between Israel and Palestine.

TURNING up the pressure on Israel, the Palestinians announced that they are joining the International Criminal Court to pursue war-crimes charges against the Jewish state.


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The high-stakes move brought threats of retaliation from Israel and criticism from the US, which said it “strongly opposes” the Palestinian Authority’s request to join the ICC.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas acted a day after suffering a resounding defeat in the UN Security Council, which voted down a resolution setting a three-year deadline for the establishment of a Palestinian state on lands occupied by Israel.

“We want to complain. There’s aggression against us, against our land. The Security Council disappointed us,” Mr Abbas said.

Turning to the international court at The Hague marks a major policy shift, transforming Mr Abbas’ relations with Israel from tense to openly hostile. The ultimate goal is to pressure Israel into withdrawing from the territories and agreeing to Palestinian statehood.

The strategy carries risks, including the possibility the Palestinians themselves could be accused of war crimes over rocket attacks by the extremist group Hamas on Israeli population centres and other violence against Jewish targets.


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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to take unspecified “retaliatory steps”.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said the US was “deeply troubled” by the Palestinians’ “escalatory step”.

He said it was “entirely counterproductive and does nothing to further the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a sovereign and independent state”.

The Palestinians could seek to have Israeli military or political figures prosecuted for alleged crimes involving settlement construction on occupied lands or actions by the military that caused heavy civilian casualties, for instance.

Israel is not a member of the court and does not recognise its jurisdiction. But the court could issue arrest warrants that would make it difficult for Israeli officials to travel abroad.

Mr Abbas has been under heavy pressure to take action against Israel amid months of rising tensions over the collapse of US-brokered peace talks last spring, a 50-day war between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza over the summer, a recent spate of deadly Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets, and Israeli restrictions on access to a key Muslim holy site in Jerusalem.

After two decades of failed on-again, off-again peace talks, the Palestinians have decided to seek recognition of their independence in various global bodies. Joining the International Criminal Court is seen as the strongest playing card.

The Palestinian application to the ICC is expected to be approved within about 60 days.

In a statement, Mr Netanyahu said Israel will protect its troops from prosecution, calling the country’s army “the most moral” in the world. He warned that Mr Abbas’ Palestinian Authority is “the one who needs to fear the International Criminal Court” because of its relationship with Hamas.

The Palestinians seek the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem — areas captured by Israel in 1967. Mr Netanyahu, who is seeking re-election in March, has said Palestinian independence can be reached only through negotiations.

Turning to the court became an option for Mr Abbas in 2012, after the United Nations recognised “Palestine” as a non-member observer state.

Mr Abbas made his announcement as the long-dominant Fatah party marked its 50th anniversary.

Yasser Arafat founded Fatah in 1965 with the goal of destroying Israel. The party rose to prominence in the 1970s and ‘80s with a series of hijackings and other attacks. Over time, Fatah moderated and accepted Israel’s right to exist, while seeking a Palestinian state. Arafat died in 2004.

AP, AFP

Fatah and Hamas Governments.

Since 2007, the Fatah government has continued to oversee the Palestinian territories in the West Bank, while the Hamas government has continued to control the Gaza Strip.

A reconciliation agreement to unite their governments, signed in Cairo in 2011, was ratified by the 2012 Hamas–Fatah Doha agreement. Renewed tensions between them, however, plus the effects of the Arab Spring (especially the crisis in Syria) have postponed its implementation. In 2011, representatives of the Authority failed to have their United Nations (UN) status upgraded, although their UNESCO status was upgraded to state representation.

A unity government was sworn in on 2 June 2014. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-27660218

Hamas won elections in 2006 and, since 2007, the Fatah government has continued to oversee the Palestinian territories in the West Bank, while the Hamas government has continued to control the Gaza Strip.

Fatah

Fatah, a political and military organization of Arab Palestinians, was founded in the late 1950s by Yāsir ʿArafāt and Khalīl al-Wazīr (Abū Jihād) with the aim of wresting Palestine from Israeli control by waging low-intensity guerrilla warfare.
By the end of the 1960s it had taken over effective control of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

In September 1970, the Jordanian army forced the PLO and Fatah fighters out of Jordan and into Lebanon.

In July 1971 Jordanian authorities killed a respected Fatah leader, Abū ʿAlī ʿIyād.

In September 1972 an extremist militant corps of Fatah murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the Summer Olympic Games in Munich, West Germany.

In 1993 Israel and the Fatah-led PLO signed a peace agreement (the Oslo Accords) that was opposed by Ḥamās, a rival Islamic group.

In 1996 Fatah captured a majority of seats within the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and Arafāt won the presidency. After Arafāts death in 2004, he was succeeded by Mahmoud Abbas.

In the 2006 elections Fatah unexpectedly lost to Ḥamā, and violence escalated between the Ḥamās and Fatah forces in the Gaza Strip. This lead to Mahmoud Abbas dissolving the Ḥamās-led government and declaring a state of emergency in 2007.

In April 2011 Ḥamās and Fatah officials announced that the two sides had reached a reconciliation agreement in negotiations mediated by Egypt. The agreement, signed in Cairo on May 4, called for the formation of an interim government, to be followed in 2012 by legislative and presidential elections. After months of negotiations over the leadership of the interim government, the two parties announced in February 2012 that they had selected Mahmoud Abbas for the post of interim prime minister.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/202423/Fatah

Hamas

Hamās, founded in 1987, is a militant Palestinian Islamic movement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamic state in Palestine.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/253202/Hamas

Since September 2000, Hamas has carried out more suicide bombing attacks on civilians than any other Palestinian group. Hamas was founded at the outset of the “first intifada” against Israeli military occupation, in December 1987. It emerged as a militant and activist offshoot of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had traditionally avoided the activism and political violence pursued by Fatah and other secular Palestinian nationalist groups.156

The Hamas bombings have been the most destructive in human terms, killing at least 168 persons, 153 of whom were civilians, and injuring more than 949. Hamas suicide bombings include some of the most notorious attacks, such as the Tel Aviv nightclub attack of June 1, 2001, which killed twenty-one, mostly teenagers; the Sbarro pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem on August 9, 2001, which killed fifteen; the March 27, 2002 bombing of the Seder in Netanya which killed twenty-eight; and the June 18, 2002 bombing of a crowded commuter bus in southern Jerusalem which killed nineteen.

http://www.hrw.org/reports/2002/isrl-pa/ISRAELPA1002-05.htm#P735_169095

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

The Palestine Liberation Organization engaged in a protracted guerrilla war against Israel during the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s before entering into peace negotiations with that country in the 1990s

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/439725/Palestine-Liberation-Organization-PLO

Child suicide bombers in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_suicide_bombers_in_the_Israeli%E2%80%93Palestinian_conflict

Terrorism Against Israel: Comprehensive Listing of Fatalities
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Terrorism/victims.html

Suicide Bombing Attacks Against Israeli Civilians
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2002/isrl-pa/

23 July 2014 – Growing List of Israeli War Crimes.

The number of innocent children, women and men killed and injured by the occupying Power has risen dramatically. The death, toll since the start of this Israeli war 15 days ago, now stands at more than 660 Palestinians killed. Shockingly, at least one third of all casualties are children under 18 years old and more than half of the children killed thus far by the occupying Power are under 12 years old, exposing the brutality of the Israeli occupying forces and the false claims regarding respect for civilian lives.

23 July 2014 – Growing List of Israeli War Crimes

Suicide Bombings of Innocent Civilians.

The issue of suicide attacks or “martyrdom operations” against Israel has dominated public discussion throughout the Arab world. Since the outbreak of the current Palestinian intifada, in September 2000, the Palestinian resort to suicide attacks has won widespread Arab public acceptance as a legitimate form of resistance against Israeli occupation. Some Muslim clerics and other commentators justify them on political, moral, and religious grounds. Even those attackers who bomb and kill women and children are hailed as martyrs for their heroism in confronting the enemy.

Suicide Bombings themselves are very carefully calculated maneuvers. Islamist and other groups launch suicide attacks because they are seen as effective means to demoralize Israel. The “martyrdom operations” are deemed the only answer to the vastly superior military capabilities of the Israeli army.

http://www.meforum.org/530/must-innocents-die-the-islamic-debate-over


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