With rise in Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes, Foreign Ministry calls on ICC to speed up criminal investigation

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RAMALLAH – The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates today called on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to speed up opening an investigation into Israeli war crimes committed against the Palestinian people in the occupied territories.

It said in a statement that the demolitions are “a war crime and a crime against humanity, to which international law holds accountable all those responsible for them because they are one of the most egregious violations and crimes that have devastating effects on the lives, economy, and the future of Palestinian citizens.”

Israeli demolitions cover most of the occupied territories and are concentrated in occupied Jerusalem, surrounding areas, and in the Jordan Valley, said the Foreign Ministry, which leaves no doubt that Israel is proceeding with steps to annex Palestinian territories and to impose Israeli law in these areas in violation of international law, international humanitarian law, and the Geneva Conventions.

It said the international community should not stay quiet to these crimes and be content with issuing condemnation statements, which encourages Israel to continue with its violations and disregard for international law.

The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, said in a briefing to the UN Security Council yesterday that the Israeli occupation authorities demolished or seized in the past few weeks 170 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the occupied West Bank but mainly in Humsa al-Bqaia community in the northern Jordan Valley, and 10 in East Jerusalem, displacing some 314 Palestinians, including 67 women and 177 children.

The ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber I issued a ruling on 5 February which stated that “the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine, a State party to the ICC Rome Statute, extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”

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