‘War crimes in Palestine’: UK government urged to refer Israel and Netanyahu to ICC


The UK-based International Center for Justice for Palestine (ICJP) has called on the British government to refer Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes committed in Palestine, and to recognize the court’s jurisdiction over with the situation.

The call follows the UK’s decision to lead a joint referral of the situation in Ukraine to the Court, together with a coordinated group of ICC States Parties.

“It is a gross double standard that while the UK government aids and facilitates international accountability and legal action against the leader of one nation for war crimes, they support and engage in friendly relations with another, ” Tayab Ali, ICJP director and partner at Bindmans. LLP, said.

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“Palestinians are entitled to the same rights and protections under international law as those living in any other territory, and it is vital that the UK government demonstrates its support for justice and accountability for perpetrators of war crimes in all cases – regardless of whether the perpetrators of those war crimes are considered friend or foe,” he said in a statement sent to Middle East Eye.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met their UK counterparts in London on Friday, which was greeted by protests organized by British Jewish and Israeli groups, as well as pro-Palestinian activists.

Shouts and chants of “shame” could be heard as Netanyahu exited his vehicle and walked towards 10 Downing Street, where he shook hands with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Netanyahu was in the UK to discuss a wide range of issues, including security and the need to strengthen strategic ties between Britain and Israel.

The visit followed an agreement signed on Tuesday between the two sides, in which the UK government agreed to oppose the use of the term “apartheid” to describe Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and pledged to combat “bias against -Israel” in international institutions, including. the United Nations.

The IS A 2030 Roadmap for Bilateral Relations between the UK and Israel mainly aimed at deepening “economic, security and technological ties” between the two countries and tackling the “scourge of anti-Semitism” and the geopolitical issues facing the region, including the influence of Iran.

The agreement has been criticized as “hypocritical” and “disappointing but not surprising” by Palestinian and international human rights groups.

Israel accused of ‘apartheid’

Launched in the UK two years ago, the ICJP says it brings together UK lawyers, politicians and academics to coordinate legal work in jurisdictions around the world to protect Palestinian rights.

The ICJP has written to Sunak and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, asking the government to urgently recognize that the ICC has jurisdiction over the situation in Palestine, and for the UK as an ICC State Party to refer that case , and for Netanyahu’s role, to the Court, pursuant to Article 14 of the ICC Statute.

The letter refers to previous findings by the ICC prosecutor that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli forces committed a number of war crimes throughout the 2014 Gaza conflict, including targeting personnel and medical equipment.

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The letter also refers to a number of previous submissions made by the ICJP to the ICC, regarding the targeting of journalists and media infrastructure by Israeli forces, as well as the illegal destruction of Palestinian homes in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

The ICJP also expressed its “grave concern” at the escalation of violence and human rights violations in Palestine, including recent Israeli military operations across the occupied West Bank that have resulted in the deaths of 85 Palestinians. at least as a result from January 2023.

He also condemned Israel’s ongoing settlement expansion and demolition of Palestinian homes and infrastructure in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which he said “violates international law and exacerbates the humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”.

“Recently, inflammatory statements made by members of the Israeli government following settler pogroms in the Palestinian village of Huwwara have shown the Israeli government’s intention to continue these extremist policies of expropriation, land seizure and ethnic cleansing,” it added the statement.

“These extremist policies continue to reinforce and reinforce Israel’s involvement in acts that fall within the definition of the crime of apartheid, contrary to Articles 7(1)(j) and 7(2)(h) of the ICC statute). “

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