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NGOs ask ICC to investigate 2021 Israeli war crimes in Gaza

Jerusalem24– A trio of Palestinian human rights organizations yesterday filed a submission to the International Criminal Court (ICC) urging the prosecutor to open a case on the May 2021 Israeli attack on Gaza which killed 232 Palestinians including 54 children.

The petition by Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, provides a detailed description and analysis of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the May 2021 Israeli military offensive against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.

“Victims have already waited for too long. How much longer will Palestinians in Gaza need to wait before the ICC holds Israeli officials to account?” Issam Younis, Director General of Al-Mezan, asked in a statement released on the day of the submission to the ICC.

The analysis includes the events that led to the escalation, including Israeli courts ordering the expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem.

The submission focuses specifically on the international crimes committed in Gaza, namely,” a full-scale military assault, consisting of 11 days of heavy bombardments.”

“The Submission finds that grave crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court have been committed by the Israeli authorities against Palestinian civilians and civil infrastructures of Gaza,  that includes the crimes of willful killing, willfully causing great suffering, serious injury to body or health, extensive destruction of property, intentional attacks on civilian objects and disproportionate use of force, within a military occupation, in the context of and associated with an international armed conflict.”

“The May 2021 attack on Gaza is just the most recent example of a series of highly destructive military operations aimed at causing disproportionate damage and suffering on the civilian population of the Gaza Strip, which is subjected to an unlawful 15-year-old closure.” – Raji Sourani, PCHR Director

Shawan Jabareen, Director of Al-Haq, said in the statement: “The commission of these crimes needs to be seen in the context of Israel’s prolonged, belligerent occupation of the entire Palestinian territory, and of the widespread commission of systemic crimes against humanity, including apartheid, and grave war crimes.”

The submission concludes that “the opening of specific cases against individual Israeli defendants by the ICC, can end the decades-long impunity for crimes committed against Palestinians. An effective prosecution is therefore absolutely warranted, as it constitutes the last resource to restore the respect for and the enforcement of international justice.”

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