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Palestine urges ICC to expedite probe into Israeli war crimes in occupied territories

In this file picture, a demonstrator poses with a Palestinian flag outside the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, the Netherlands, on November 29, 2019. (Photo by AP)

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to expedite an investigation into the crimes and violations of the Tel Aviv regime and extremist Jewish settlers, and bring perpetrators to justice.

The ministry, in a statement on Saturday, condemned the brutal repression of anti-settlement marches in various areas across the West Bank, particularly in the town of Beita, and sit-ins against the establishment of an illegal settlement outpost on the Palestinian lands in Jabal Sabih.

It also denounced the Israeli military’s attacks that targeted ambulances and Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank towns of Beita and Kafr Qaddoum, as well as in the Gaza Strip.

The foreign ministry stressed that the Israeli regime is pressing ahead with its aggression against the Palestinian nation, especially as it continues to raze buildings and aggressively distributes house demolition notices.

The statement also condemned the Israeli-run al-Quds municipality's forcing of Palestinian resident Ayman Abu Hadwan to self-demolish his home in the Wadi al-Rababa district of Silwan neighborhood.

The ministry said it views with great seriousness the recent visit by Israeli minister of military affairs Benny Gantz and his army staff to the Jabal Sabih area, and considers it a provocative move against Palestinian lands south of Nablus.

It called on the international community, the UN Security Council in particular, to exert maximum pressure on Israel to remove the illegal settlement outpost in Jabal Sabih, and to return the area that it has seized by force to its rightful owners.

The ministry underlined that sanctions on Israel will deter the occupying regime from further expropriation of Palestinian lands.

Back in March, former ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced in a statement the launch of a war crimes investigation in the Palestinian territories, which have been under Israeli occupation since 1967.

She said her probe would be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor.”

The Palestinian Authority (PA) welcomed the announcement.

It is “a long-awaited step that serves Palestine’s tireless pursuit of justice and accountability, which are indispensable pillars of the peace the Palestinian people seek and deserve”, the PA foreign ministry said in a statement.

Hamas resistance movement also praised the ICC’s move at the time.

“We welcome the ICC decision to investigate Israeli occupation war crimes against our people. It is a step forward on the path of achieving justice for the victims of our people,” Hamas spokesman Qassem said.

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