Palestinian human rights organizations, including al-Haq, al-Mezan, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), which monitor and document rights violations committed by the occupying entity, filed a submission to the Hague-based court to expedite an investigation into the crimes and violations of the Tel Aviv regime and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“The May 2021 attack on Gaza is just the most recent example of a series of highly destructive military operations aimed at causing disproportionate damage and suffering on the civilian population of the Gaza Strip, which is subjected to an unlawful 15-year-old closure,” said Raji Sourani, the Director of PCHR.
Tel Aviv launched a brutal bombing campaign against the besieged Gaza Strip on May 10, 2021, following Palestinian retaliation against violent raids on worshipers at al-Aqsa Mosque and the regime’s plans to force a number of Palestinian families out of their homes at the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of the occupied East al-Quds.
According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, 260 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli offensive, including 66 children and 40 women. At least 1,948 others were also wounded.
In response, Palestinian resistance movements, chief among them Hamas, launched Operation al-Quds Sword and fired more than 4,000 rockets and missiles into the occupied territories, killing 12 Israelis.
Apparently caught off guard by the unprecedented barrage of rockets from Gaza, Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire on May 21, which Palestinian resistance movements accepted with Egyptian mediation.
Elsewhere in the submission, the rights groups said that grave crimes within the jurisdiction of the court have been committed on a wide scale by the Israeli authorities against Palestinian civilians and civil infrastructures of Gaza.
“The commission of these crimes needs to be seen in the context of Israel’s prolonged, belligerent occupation of the entire Palestinian territory, and of the widespread commission of systemic crimes against humanity, including apartheid, and grave war crimes”, wrote Shawan Jabareen, Director of al-Haq organization.
“Victims have already waited for too long. How much longer will Palestinians in Gaza need to wait, before the ICC holds Israeli officials to account?” said Issam Younis, the director-general of al-Mezan.
The submission concludes that only a prompt, concrete and comprehensive investigation and the opening of specific cases against Israeli authorities by the ICC can end the decades-long impunity for crimes committed against Palestinians.
Former ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda last year announced 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) then 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 then said in a statement.
Hamas also praised the ICC’s move.
Most recently, the al-Haq human rights organization in March slammed Israel’s apartheid policies and practices against the cultural rights of the Palestinian people.
According to the statement, the Israeli regime’s 14-year-old blockade of the Gaza Strip, coupled with its indiscriminate and disproportionate bombings of cultural sites, have prevented the Palestinian people from protecting their cultural heritage, including through archeological excavations.
It noted that the Israeli bombardment of Gaza in May 2021 damaged cultural heritage sites including the oldest known seaport in Gaza, the second oldest mosque in Palestine, and sites on UNESCO’s Tentative List.
The bombardment also targeted open lands on the Gaza coastline overlying a Roman city, previously bombed in 2012, 2014, and 2018, leaving a multitude of large craters, al-Haq said.
Source: Press TV