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Palestine: War crimes complaint against Israel filed to ICC

Palestinian justice organisation submits war crimes complaint against Israel to ICC
3 min read
18 August, 2022
A war crimes complaint against Israel has been filed to the International Criminal Court detailing Israel's systematic policy of 'unlawfully depriving Palestinian civilians of property'.
The complaint was dubbed a 'gateway' submission as more evidence of Israeli expulsions is expected to be presented [source: Getty]

The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) lodged a war crimes complaint on Wednesday to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over Israel’s policy of expelling Palestinians from their land under circumstances "not justified by military necessity". 

The "gateway" complaint is based on two specific cases of Palestinian expulsion by Israeli authorities: one in Gaza on behalf of Rezk Salem Hamed Kadih and the other for members of the Salhiya family in the occupied east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Further evidence of Israel’s “illegal land theft [and] property destruction” in Gaza, the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem is expected to be added to the submission over time. 

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"The evidence available to support allegations of property-related crimes perpetrated by the Israeli authorities is vast, credible and clear," said Tayab Ali, director of ICJP in a statement published online. 

"The silence and support from countries in the EU as well as the UK and USA is tantamount to complicity in these crimes."

The complaint - which was drafted in partnership with UK law firm Bindmans - was the result of "painstaking" work by ICJP analysts who gathered evidence to support an ICC investigation, according to the ICJP's statement.

The ICC investigation was opened by former prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in 2021. 

Bensouda said in 2019 that following preliminary examinations there was "a reasonable basis to believe war crimes have been or are being committed" by Israeli authorities against Palestinians and that an investigation would "serve the interests of justice". 

The New Arab was told that the ICJP have been working on the complaint since October 2021. The justice organisation believes that given the opening of an investigation by the ICC, this provides a "real opportunity for accountability" over Israel's unlawful policies. 

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The Kadih family, who live in the Khan Yunis district of south Gaza, have been subjected to a decades-long efforts by Israel to appropriate their home.

Despiting owning the land for over a hundred years, successive events from the 1948 Nakba, to the 1967 war to modern day illegal confiscations have seen Israeli authorities encroach further and further on the family property. 

This policy of systematic expulsion has been used to force the Salhiya family from their home in Sheikh Jarrah.

The family have lived on the Jersualem property since 1950, after they were expelled from their village of Ein Karim during the Nakba. The Nakba, called the Catastrophe, is the name given to the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homes during the creation of the Israeli state. 

Since 2017, Israel has allocated the Salhiya's land for school construction. In January 2022, Israeli forces raided the Palestinian home, violently arresting and assaulting family members, before emptying the house and trying to demolish it.

Sheikh Jarrah has been at the centre of tensions in Jerusalem since last year, with some 28 Palestinian families in the neighbourhood facing orders of expulsion from their homes.