[JURIST] Top Palestinian officials on Friday filed a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website], accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza. Palestinian Justice Minister Saleem Al-Saqqa and Gaza court public prosecutor Ismail Jabr started legal proceedings over the 18 days of fighting between Hamas and Israel that has killed over 800 Palestinians and 35 Israelis. The complaint [AP report] accuses Israel of war crimes, including apartheid, attacks against civilians, excessive loss of human life and colonization. The ICC must next decide whether it has jurisdiction in the Palestinian Authority. The territory is not a member of the UN. However, the territory became an observer in 2012, a status which the ICC prosector said was required for Palestinians to sign up to the court.
The creation of a unified Palestinian government comes as tensions have risen in the Levant between Palestine and Israel. Earlier this week the UN Human Rights Council announced [JURIST report] its intention to create an international commission of inquiry that will investigate all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, specifically during Israel’s latest military offensive in Gaza. Last month UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon [official website] urged [JURIST report] Israel to release Palestinian administrative detainees over fears of failing health in a hunger strike. In April an independent UN human rights expert urged [JURIST report] Israel to prevent settlers from taking over a building in the West Bank city of Hebron. The house was strategically located between the illegal Israel settlement of Kiryat Arba and the Ibrahami Mosque, and Israeli settlement in the building had caused an increase in violence and harassment against Palestinians in the area. Also in April the United Nations confirmed [JURIST report] that Palestinian officials have delivered letters of accession to 15 international conventions and treaties.