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Palestine: World must press ICC to probe Israeli home demolitions

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This picture taken on July 22, 2019, shows the demolition of a Palestinian building which was under construction, in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sur Baher in the Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds. (Photo by AFP)

Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Saeb Erekat, has strongly condemned the recent demolition of a cluster of Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds as war crime, calling on the international community to push the International Criminal Court (ICC) into opening an immediate investigation into the incident.

On Tuesday, Erekat called on the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to implement her mandate under the Human Rights Council resolution 31/36, which demands a database of all business enterprises engaged in Israeli settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory, and to strive for international protection of Palestinians living under the Israeli occupation.

This picture taken on July 22, 2019 from the occupied West Bank village of Dar Salah shows the demolition of a Palestinian building which was under construction in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sur Baher in the Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds. (By AFP)

He also slammed the measures taken by Israeli authorities to expel Palestinians from Jerusalem al-Quds, including land grab, confiscations of identity paper, revocations of residency status and rejections of family reunification.

“The Israeli occupation forces, with the support of the Israeli Supreme Court, have ordered the demolition of these buildings using a security pretext, but the demolitions in Sur Baher are another example of Israel's illegal policies and practices aimed at eliminating the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem (al-Quds) and defending the existence of the Israeli occupation,” Erekat highlighted.

The high-ranking Palestinian official further noted that the Israeli regime continues to “escape punishment time and time again” despite repeated calls for the international community to intervene and stop demolition of Palestinian homes, which result in forced displacement.

“The international community has not only failed to stop demolitions and forced displacement in Sur Baher, but also failed to hold Israel accountable for its continued violations of international law. Israel's actions are not only serious violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, but are war crimes pursuant to the Rome Statute of the ICC. Therefore, we call for the urgent cessation of crimes being committed in the occupied State of Palestine,” Erekat said.

The remarks came a day after hundreds of Israeli troops with bulldozers tore down homes in Sur Baher despite local protests and international criticism.

Meanwhile, Spokesman of the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Sufian Qudah has reiterated his country’s rejection of the Israeli regime's settlement expansion policies, its land confiscation policy and forced displacement of Palestinians.

He urged Israel to immediately halt such practices, emphasizing that such moves would increase tensions, deepen despair, and have a fundamental impact on the so-called two-state solution.

Separately, the French Foreign Ministry condemned the Israeli regime’s demolition of Palestinian buildings in Sur Baher.

The ministry said in a statement that demolitions in occupied territories run contrary to international law, particularly the international humanitarian law and relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

The statement highlighted that the demolitions will set a dangerous precedent, and will harm the so-called two-state solution.

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