PA Requests ICC Probe Israeli Crimes in the Occupied Territories
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Since the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) became effective in July 2002, victims of Western and Israeli imperialism alone were prosecuted - never the perpetrators.
Around two-thirds of world nations are ICC members, not America or Israel. Still, their nationals can be tried by the court - in absentia if unable to bring them to the Hague.
The 2002 American Service Members' Protection Act (ASPA, aka Hague Invasion Act) "protect(s) United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution by an international court to which the United States is not party."
It authorizes the president to use "all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court."
Decades of US high crimes are well documented, its officials never held accountable. Nor have their counterparts in other NATO countries and Israel.
The ICC is a notorious imperial tool. In 2012, it rejected the PA's request to investigate Israeli criminality during its December 2008/January 2009 Cast Led aggression - despite indisputable evidence of its high crimes of war and against humanity.
In 2015, the ICC began a "preliminary examination" short of an official investigation into Israeli war crimes.
It covered violations "in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem since June 13, 2014" - focusing on Israel's 2014 summer Gaza war, Operation Protective Edge.
It was strictly procedural. Nothing came of it. Last September, four Palestinian human rights groups submitted extensive documentation of Israeli crimes of war and against humanity to the ICC - in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
They urged ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to "urgently open a full investigation into the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory," calling it a "necessary step to ending the culture of impunity that has long prevailed in regard to Israeli crimes and to hold high-level political and military officials accountable."
Israeli high crimes cited included "willful killing, extensive destruction and appropriation of property, unlawful deportation or transfer, transfer by the occupying power of its civilian population into occupied territory, pillaging of a town/place, destroying or seizing the enemy's property."
In response, the ICC merely said it would analyze the submitted materials. Once a decision on them was reached, senders would be notified. No action was taken so far, none likely.
On Tuesday, Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki met with ICC chief prosecutor Bensouda, calling on her to immediately open an investigation into Israeli crimes of war and against humanity against the Palestinian people - along with its illegal apartheid rule and killings of "unarmed protestors in the Gaza Strip."
In its submission to the ICC, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said Israeli settlements on stolen land are "the single most dangerous threat to Palestinian lives, livelihoods, and national rights," adding:
"Israel maintains, expands, and protects the settlement regime by committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people."
It's guilty of "illegal exploitation of natural resources, as well as the brutal and calculated targeting of unarmed protesters, particularly in the Gaza Strip."
Decades of Israeli ruthlessness is indisputable. Throughout its 70-year history, nothing was ever done to hold its officials accountable for high crimes too egregious to ignore.
It's highly unlikely the ICC will break longstanding tradition by going where no tribunal or other entity ever went before - not against Israel or any Western officials.
If the ICC ever goes this far one day, acting responsibly, it's one thing to prosecute and convict, quite another to place guilty parties behind bars for their high crimes.
It never happened before, won't ahead as long as nations where guilty parties reside prevent it - justice denied like always.
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