Following the vote by members of the United Nations to deny the resolution to recognize Palestinian statehood on Tuesday, Palestine reached out to the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, accusing Israel of committing war crimes when it declared war on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during the summer of 2014.
RT reported that along with letters of accession to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas submitted a request to investigate Israel’s use of force starting June 13, 2014.
“They attack us and our land every day, to whom are we to complain? The Security Council let us down – where are we to go?” Abbas said.
According to the Associated Press, Abbas’ decision to turn to the ICC signals a shift in Palestine’s relations with Israel, turning them “from tense to openly hostile,” due to the fact that Palestine’s ultimate goal is to “pressure Israel into withdrawing from the territories and agreeing to Palestinian statehood.”
PressTV reported that while Israel has launched three wars on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since 2008, Palestine is reaching out to the ICC for the “latest military aggression against Gaza,” claiming that the Israeli Defense Forces committed war crimes in the summer of 2014 when they “used advanced weapons to kill over 2,140 Palestinians and destroy thousands of homes.”
According to Reuters, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened that Israel would “take steps in response,” and urged the ICC to reject Palestine’s bid to become a full member, claiming that Palestine does not “rank as a state.”
“We expect the ICC to summarily dismiss the Palestinian Authority’s duplicitous application because the Palestinian Authority is not a state, it is an entity that is allied with a terror organization, Hamas, which commits war crimes,” Netanyahu said.
Following the news of Palestine’s bid to the ICC, the U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke released a statement saying that the United States was “deeply troubled” by the decision, and that Palestine’s actions would not help peace efforts in the region.
“It is an escalatory step that will not achieve any of the outcomes most Palestinians have long hoped to see for their people,” said Rathke. “Actions like this are not the answer.”
RT reported that Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center Director, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, said that the Gaza War “will be at the heart of the accusations,” and that if found guilty of war, Israel will suffer in terms of international relations.
“Israel will of course try to defend itself, but chances are they will lose,” said Darshan-Leitner. “And if they lose and they’re convicted for war crimes, it would be a game-changer. It would drop Israel to the bottom tier internationally.”
As previously reported, the resolution Palestine presented to the United Nations called for recognition of statehood, an end of Israeli occupation by 2017, the restoration to the 1967 borders, the recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, and the call for a third party to oversee Israeli withdrawal.
The resolution failed to pass, due to the fact that it only received eight out of the nine votes needed. Palestine pushed for the vote to happen before January 1, 2015, even though after January 1, the U.N. Security Council would have received five new members who were all likely to have passed the resolution.
This raises the question of whether Palestine pushed for an early vote so that they would still be able to push for Israel to be investigated for war crimes. Ben Swann was joined by Reema Abu Hamdieh on RT America to discuss: