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Palestine at the International Criminal Court: Potential and Problems

By       Message Lawrence Davidson     Permalink
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Reprinted from To The Point Analyses

From youtube.com/watch?v=udbQOrs9GD0: Israeli PM Netanyahu Says Israeli soldiers are above the International Criminal Court!
Israeli PM Netanyahu Says Israeli soldiers are above the International Criminal Court!
(Image by YouTube)
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Part I -- Going to the ICC

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was designed as a vehicle for the prosecution of the most heinous of crimes committed by individuals in positions of state authority -- those military officers and politicians at the top of a national chain of command. Until recently ICC prosecutions have been limited to leaders of small and weak states. This is not because the leaders of powerful nations are not sometimes culpable, but rather because no member state of the ICC has yet brought a relevant complaint.

This situation is about to change. In November 2012, Palestine achieved official observer status within the United Nations and this position allowed it to join the ICC.

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The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) hesitated to take this next step as long as "peace negotiations" with Israel were ongoing. But by the spring of 2014, the latest round of such talks had proved as fruitless as their many predecessors. And so the Palestinians went ahead and signed the treaty that would make them a member nation of the Court -- a status that becomes official in April 2015. Palestine has already requested the Court to begin a preliminary investigation of Israel's actions within Palestinian territory (the Occupied Territories) during the 2014 invasion of Gaza. It is looking for indictments of Israeli leaders on war crimes charges.

This has made the Israeli government and its patron in Washington very angry. The U.S. Congress has sworn to defund the PNA, and the Israelis have sworn to "dissolve the ICC." The reason for the anger rests on the fact that the evidence for the commission of war crimes by Israel is overwhelming.

Part II -- Evidence

It is to be noted that even as the ICC begins its own formal investigation into Israeli behavior, the United Nations Human Rights Council has appointed a three-member independent commission of inquiry into possible violations of international law and human rights during the 2014 invasion. Its report is due this March. In the meantime Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem have all brought out their own independent reports.

Roughly, here are the facts as they are presently known:

...About 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in the period between July 8 and August 26. According to United Nations estimates 1,473 of these were civilians, including 527 children and 299 women. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 11,100 were injured, including 3,374 children, 2,088 women, and 410 elderly. This high casualty rate has been attributed to Israel's "reckless and disproportionate use of deadly force in densely populated urban areas."

In comparison, 71 Israelis were killed, of whom four were civilians; 469 Israeli soldiers were injured, as were 261civilians.

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...The UN estimates that Israeli action destroyed 18,000 housing units, permanently displacing around 108,000 Gazans. In the process Israel specifically targeted the civilian homes of Palestinian political and military leaders.

...The Israelis also targeted the Gaza electrical grid, indefinitely knocking out the Gaza Strip's only community-wide power plant.

...The destruction of the power plant caused the water treatment facilities to shut down. Thus 450,000 people were cut off from the municipal water system. Israeli tank fire also targeted reservoirs and individual wells. By the way, it doesn't take a war for the Israelis to deny water to Palestinian communities. On 11 February 2015, it was reported that Israeli soldiers destroyed a thousand-meter pipeline supplying water to Palestinian communities in the northern Jordan Valley.

...Israeli tank fire destroyed Gaza's largest sewage treatment plant.

...The UN reports that 22 schools were destroyed and 118 damaged, including UN schools sheltering displaced civilians. To this must be added the fact that an estimated that 373,000 children have been traumatized to the point of needing professional "psychosocial support."

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http://www.tothepointanalyses.com
Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign
Policy Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interest
; America's
Palestine: Popular and Offical Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli
Statehood
; and Islamic Fundamentalism. His academic work is focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He also teaches courses in the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

His blog To The Point Analyses now has its own Facebook page. Along with the analyses, the Facebook page will also have reviews, pictures, and other analogous material.


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