Palestine’s foreign minister criticized the International Criminal Court (ICC) Wednesday for its tardiness in investigating Israel for possible war crimes against Palestinians.
Speaking at the opening of the 17th session of the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC in The Hague, the Netherlands, Riyad al-Maliki noted that the ICC had launched a preliminary investigation into possible Israeli war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories but said that continuing to delay the probe will harm its credibility.
“How many Palestinian homes will be demolished, families displaced, Palestinians tortured and children killed by the Israeli occupiers before the ICC launches a probe against them?” al-Maliki said.
He drew attention to the ICC’s failure to prosecute senior Israeli officials despite four years passing since its preliminary inquiry.
“Palestinian victims have been waiting long enough for justice,” al-Maliki said.
“Any delay in the investigation is a delay in bringing justice and gives the occupying power impunity and more time to commit its daily crimes,” he told ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
In December 2014, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed the Rome convention and appendixes related to the ICC, which accepted a request by Palestine to become a member in April 2015.
For the last nine months, Palestinians in Gaza have been staging regular demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone to demand the right to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948.
They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.
Since the rallies began on March 30, more than 210 Palestinians have been martyred and thousands more injured by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the buffer zone.