ICC Investigate on Israel War Crimes in Gaza

ICC Investigate on Israel War Crimes in Gaza
Sat Jan 17, 2015 14:57:44

The International Criminal Court said Friday it is considering whether to investigate alleged war crimes in the Palestinian Territories.

The ICC, based in The Hague, Netherlands, said in a statement it had "opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine" in reference to Palestinian claims Israel committed war crimes in the 50-day Gaza war of 2014.

The Palestinians refer to air strikes and invasions of Gaza by Israel, which left 2,100 dead, the majority, the United Nations said, civilians. Tens of thousands of homes were also damaged or destroyed in the war.

Israel has likewise accused the Palestinians of firing rockets into Israeli civilian areas, calling them war crimes as well. Sixty-seven Israeli soldiers, and six civilians, died in the summer combat.

Crimes allegedly committed in East Jerusalem, not a part of Gaza, should also be considered, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said, a reference to the kidnapping and murder of a teenager by Israeli extremists prior to the Gaza war, among other incidents.

Palestine will join the ICC on Apr. 1, 90 days after it applied for membership, requested specifically to address the issue of war crimes and to help advance its claim for formal and permanent statehood.

Israel and the United States are strongly critical of Palestine's entry into the ICC and of consideration of the alleged crimes, claiming they undermine the peace process. In a statement, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the purpose of the ICC probe was to "try to harm Israel's right to defend itself from terror."

The court's actions Friday indicate it will conduct an inquiry to determine if the alleged crimes reach the threshold of pursuing a deeper investigation.

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