President Mahmoud Abbas called on Palestinians who were affected by the Israeli occupation to file their cases to the International Criminal Court (ICC), following a decision by ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to pave the way for punishing Israel for its crimes in the occupied territories.
“It is a great day because we have achieved what we wanted,” said Abbas, commenting on the decision, which was strongly rejected by the United States and considered irrelevant by Israel.
“As of today, the ICC will begin to receive the cases we forward to it. This is a historic day, and from now on any Palestinian wounded as a result of the occupation can file a lawsuit,” he stressed.
The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor said on Friday she would launch a full investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian Territories as soon as the court’s jurisdiction had been established.
Abbas asked the Palestinians to submit complaints against Israel, while human rights organizations started filling forms for those affected by the occupation aggressions.
“There is a clear plan of action that will be initiated during the next 10 days, where specific papers will be signed by the victims and then raised to the ICC,” said Shawan Jabarin, director of the Al-Haq Foundation.
The Palestinian move is once again seen as a challenge to Israel and the United States, which announced its opposition to the ICC decision to conduct a full investigation into Israeli war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had announced his opposition to this investigation and any other actions “aimed at unjustly persecuting Israel.”
Israeli media focused on the possibility that Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and current or former military or political officials, face the risk of arrest in more than 100 countries in the world, in the event that the ICC opens an official investigation on suspicions of war crimes in the Palestinian territory .
But official political figures maintained that the ICC was not competent in this case because there was no Palestinian state.