Experts: Palestine’s International Criminal Court move to corner Israel
by Daily Sabah with AA
ISTANBULJan 22, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah with AA
Jan 22, 2015 12:00 am
Turkish experts believe the International Criminal Court's (ICC) decision to launch an inquiry into possible Israeli war crimes in Palestine will pressure Israel to act differently. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced on Jan. 16 that she had opened a preliminary investigation into the "situation in Palestine" after the Palestinian government lodged war crimes allegations against Israel. The ICC move comes a few weeks after the Palestinian Authority requested an investigation into war crimes it said were carried out by Israel during its assault on Gaza in 2014, in which more than 2,200 Gazans were killed. The Palestinian government acceded to the Rome Statute on Jan. 2 and the court accepted its jurisdiction over the alleged crimes committed in the "occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, since June 13, 2014."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had applied for Palestinian membership in 20 international treaties and organizations, including the International Criminal Court, which would theoretically allow Palestine to sue Israel for war crimes. "Palestine's move will corner Israel," Mehmet Şahin, associate professor and vice chairman of the Ankara-based Institute of Strategic Thinking, told The Anadolu Agency. Sahin said the move, even if it does not result in serious sanctions, would negatively affect Israel's image around the world and create a perception that it is a "terrorist state." Şahin, however, said the measure will not remove the obstacles facing the recognition of Palestine as a state.
"The important and effective steps that Palestine is taking will gain meaning with the support of the world," Mehmet Akif Okur, associate professor at Gazi University, said. Okur also said the Palestinian efforts should be seen as a means of pressure to put Israel back on the negotiating table.
"For the first time, pressure has been put on Israel," Oğuz Çelikkol, Turkey's former ambassador to Israel, said. Meanwhile, the Israeli government said it will not allow the ICC decision to affect its policies. "We will not have our hands tied by anyone, including the International Criminal Court," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday. "We will do what is necessary to defend ourselves wherever we need to do so."
By joining the ICC, Palestine aims to bring human rights violations and war crimes committed by Israeli troops to the court, since Israeli actions remain unpunished despite many reports by the U.N. and independent non-governmental organizations that have shown that Israel committed war crimes several times. The U.N. confirmed receipt of the documents and said the next steps were being reviewed. If the application is accepted, an investigation into the 50-days of Israeli attacks on Gaza last summer could possibly be launched.