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Justice for Palestinians?

Justice for Palestinians?

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will be launching a preliminary inquiry into the war crimes against Israel after Palestine demanded a probe against the Zionist nation that ordered the destruction of Gaza.

ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda said in her statement that opening a preliminary inquiry would lead to a “full-blown investigation”. The first formal step in the direction, it would help analyse and determine the level of atrocities and result in charges against the responsible authorities. Israel slammed the Court decision calling it as “scandalous” and “absurd”. It reacted sharply saying that Palestine didn’t have the right to demand an inquiry as it didn’t attain the statehood yet and so has no membership in the ICC. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said in a statement that the purpose of preliminary inquiry was to "try to harm Israel's right to defend itself from terror" and that it was “solely motivated by anti-Israel considerations”. Lieberman also said that ICC was just another political dais “that represents hypocrisy” and that he would recommend against the probe. Israel not only dismissed off the Court decision but is also trying to dissolve the ICC by discouraging people from giving financial aid to the organization.

The Palestinian Authority had lodged a complaint against Israel in 2009 that failed due to its status at the UN. The ICC prosecutor in 2012 had stated it could not take steps in this regard even after "carefully considering legal arguments". Palestine’s “observer” status had blocked them from signing up to the ICC's founding Rome Statute. But it was upgraded to UN “observer state” in 2012, paving way for the Palestinians to join the ICC and many other international organizations. Both the US and Israel had objected the decision with Washington calling it "counterproductive". Palestine then lodged a complaint against possible war crimes and crimes against humanity against Israel and the Court ordered a probe into the matter.

The ICC is the world's first independent court set up in 2002 to investigate genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. But it can only look into the alleged crimes in countries that have ratified the Rome Statute, or accepts the Hague-based court's jurisdiction for a certain time period, or through a referral by the UN Security Council. While 123 countries have now ratified the Rome Statute, Israel and the United States have kept away. It is a shame that the international community that came forward in unison to express solidarity with those killed in the Paris attacks had remained silent during the heartbreaking episodes of genocide and widespread destruction of the Gaza strip. Israel began a massive crackdown on West Bank on June 13 after the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers that triggered a series of events leading to a seven week Gaza war.

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