In a surprise move which shocked Middle Eastern countries; Palestine has taken Israel to the International Criminal Court in what has been described as a “historic step towards justice” this week. The move finally came at The Hague after long drawn out deliberations by Palestinian authorities to make Israel and its cohorts like the United States accountable for the on-going violence.
Foreign Minister Riad Malkisaid made the call for an immediate investigation into the actions of Israel in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank and the recent spate of violence, which claimed the lives of over 100 people to the chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda. “There is a culture of impunity in Israel for crimes against Palestinians. This is Palestine’s test to the international mechanism of accountability and respect for international law.,” he said.
Palestine’s Assistant Minister for Multilateral Affairs Ammar Hijazi said that the recent violence required that action be taken against Israel. This moves came only days after the United States moved its Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and at a time when relationships between the two states is at its lowest. There have been no peace talks for four years.
The Court has been conducting a low-level investigation since 2015 into crimes allegedly perpetrated by both sides during 2014. Also into Israeli’s Settlements Policies. Israel is not part of the International Criminal Court; those implicated could be arrested, especially in countries, which are signatories. This would “ground” many people for whom search warrants could be issued and enforced in member countries.
The Court depends on member countries to effect arrest warrants and this has proved to be effective in many cases. It is hoped that this week’s development would lead to a full-blown investigation which would lead to top Israeli government, military and politicians being charged with crimes against humanity. The Court is a last resort for cases where national authorities cannot or will not launch investigations.