Israelis to File War Crimes Complaint against 'Hamas' at The Hague
A group of Jewish farmers living in Israeli towns bordering the Gaza Strip traveled to The Hague in the Netherlands on Monday to file a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the “Hamas” leadership.
They demanded “Hamas” to pay financial compensation over the torching of thousands of acres of farmland in recent months from incendiary kites and balloons.
A delegation of about 20 farmers arrived in The Hague to hand over the drafted complaint to the court.
Members of the delegation confirmed that they were speaking on behalf of about 50,000 farmers, whose products and fields had been damaged by fires over the past five months.
The complaint was drafted by Israeli legal group Shurat HaDin, whose president Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said in a statement that the existing security reality in which fields and forests in Israel are being burned every day by activists from “Hamas” is “unacceptable.”
The lawsuit was filed against “Hamas” officials, including its leader Ismail Haniyeh, his deputy Saleh al-Arouri, the movement’s former chief, Khaled Meshaal, its head in the Gaza Strip, Yahya al-Sinwar, and several others.
Along with the complaint, the group protested on Monday outside ICC offices accompanied by a photo exhibit of fields destroyed by the incendiary kites and damage done by mortars and rockets.
This is the first lawsuit of its kind submitted to the ICC from the Israeli side.
According to the plaintiffs, the firing of incendiary kites and balloons towards the settlement areas in the outskirts of the enclave led to burning around 30,000 dunums of cultivated land, causing millions of dollars of damage as well as health and psychological damage.
“What they are trying to do is to burn us, not just our fields. It’s a war crime and a crime against humanity,” farmer Ofer Lieberman said ahead of his arrival at The Hague.
“The lawsuit was prepared in the light of several violations of the Rome Statute, including burning fields by incendiary kites, attacking Israeli borders, using children for combat purposes and civilians as human shields,” Lieberman added.