In the wake of Palestinian Authority (PA) officials taking unilateral action in the United Nations and the continuous threat of the PA joining the International Criminal Court (ICC), Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, has begun to prepare indictments of Palestinian officials (called “communications”) for involvement in terrorist attacks. The Shurat HaDin communications allege that several Palestinian officials including senior Fatah and Hamas leaders engaged in perpetrating and financing a campaign of terrorism against Israel’s civilian population.
Last year, in April 2013, we initiated a public campaign in Israel to gather the names and details of hundreds of Israeli terror victims who could stand as complainants in the ICC. Shurat HaDin is now utilizing this information to prepare its communications against the Palestinian leaders.
We have also re-launched our on-line media and FACEBOOK campaigns to reach out to the terror victims and requesting they contact our Tel-Aviv offices with their details.
Shurat HaDin’s actions follow the PA taking unilateral action last week and signing onto 15 UN treaties as the negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians have begun to collapse. The Law Center has recently been approached by senior Israeli officials and asked to accelerate the preparation of the communications.
Following the PLO’s upgrade in status at the UN to observer state last year, Palestinian leaders have continuously threatened Israel that they will soon seek membership in the ICC in order to be permitted to file war crimes complaints against IDF officers, soldiers and Israeli officials. The Palestinians allege that Israeli settlements in the West Bank constitute a “population transfer” and violate Article 49 of the Geneva Convention.
Shurat HaDin notes, however, that when a “state” joins the ICC, the court’s jurisdiction attaches in all directions. This means that while the Palestinians could file war crimes complaints against Israelis over “crimes” that were allegedly committed on their territory by Israel, by the same token Israelis and non-Israelis who were injured in Palestinian terrorist attacks launched from the West Bank and Gaza, could file their own war crimes complaints against PLO and Hamas leaders.
The Shurat HaDin campaign for the ICC has placed the PA government on notice that a tsunami of Israeli war crimes complaints would be unleashed upon Fatah and Hamas officials on the day the PA moves to become ICC members.
According to Shurat HaDin director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner:
“Fortunately we had the foresight to organize Israeli terror victims to serve as complainants in the ICC over the past year. We have had many hundreds of terror victims contact us since April 2013. It was obvious to us that along with launching a Third Intifada of terrorist violence, going to the ICC against Israel, was the Palestinians’ only option. We believe that proposed indictments of these types are the only means of deterring the Palestinians from rushing out and joining the ICC in order to indict Israelis for crimes against humanity. At this stage only a NGO like Shurat HaDin can take any preemptive action against the PA officials in the Hague.”
For an article about our ICC campaign click here.
Shurat HaDin here:
Meanwhile in GENEVA — The Palestinian Authority has signed up formally to the Geneva Conventions, which set down the rules of warfare and humanitarian operations in conflict zones, the treaties’ guardian Switzerland confirmed Friday.
Swiss foreign ministry spokesman Pierre-Alain Eltschinger told AFP that the Palestinian Authority had declared itself party to the conventions on April 2.
The move was registered formally by Switzerland on Thursday, he added.
The step is part of a new diplomatic drive by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, coming as peace talks with Israel are close to collapse.
The Palestinians had pledged to freeze all moves to seek membership in UN organizations and international conventions — a stepping stone to recognition of their hoped-for state — during the talks in return for Israel’s release of veteran Arab prisoners.
Israel has meanwhile made a new bid to expand settlements in east Jerusalem.
The original Geneva Conventions were crafted in the 19th century under the auspices of the Swiss-based International Committee of the Red Cross, and recast after World War II.
Over the subsequent decades, optional protocols were added to take into account the developing realities of war and its impact on civilians.
The Palestinians have also submitted requests to the United Nations to join 13 other international conventions and treaties, and the world body said Thursday that the move was legal.
The treaties include the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, the convention on the rights of the child, the convention against torture, and an anti-corruption accord.