Israel Could Face Palestinian War Crimes Charges
December 4, 2012
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Israel is moving forward with plans for two major settlement projects to build 3,000 homes for Jews in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. According to the British Foreign Secretary William Hague, the Israeli building plans would make the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel with Jerusalem as a shared capital “almsot inconceivable.” Palestinian officials have warned Israel that their government could pursue war crimes charges if Israel does not stop their plans for construction. “U.N. recognition [of Palestine as a non-member state] could enable the Palestinians to gain access to the International Criminal Court and seek war crimes charges agaisnt Isreal for its construction of settlements on occupied lands.” Israel’s strongest Western allies have taken an intense preference for the side of the Jewish state. Before Israel announced its latest settlement plans, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that he wouldn’t turn to the ICC unless Palestine was attacked; on Monday, a senior Abbas aide said that “by continuing these war crimes of settlement activities on our lands and stealing our money, Israel is pushing and forcing us to go to the ICC.” Final approval for projects in various stages of planning was given Tuesday (today).
Another building project called E-1 would build at least 3,500 homes east of Jerusalem, effectively cutting off east Jersualem (the Palestinian’s intended capital) from the West Bank; however, the government has not decided whether to authorize construction for E-1 yet.
A senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi insists that the international community must go further than the recent diplomatic sanctions against Israel and that the European Union must take harsher measures against products from Israeli settlements. “We have to move to concrete steps so Israel knows it has something to lose and will be held accountable, in accordance with international law.” Here, deterrence and disincentives enter the playing field in international law in order to try to prevent violence and eventually another case in the Hague.