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Palestinian rights groups hand dossier on Israel to ICC

File includes evidence of systematic uprooting of Palestinians from their land

Gulf News

Dubai: Palestinian human rights lawyers have handed a 700-page dossier to the International Criminal Court, alleging that Israeli authorities are responsible for crimes including apartheid and persecution in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.

The documents submitted on Wednesday are an attempt to provide evidence for an ongoing preliminary probe opened in 2015 by prosecutors at the global court into crimes committed on Palestinian territories. The so-called preliminary examination aims to establish if there are sufficient grounds for opening a full-scale investigation.

Shawan Jabarin, director of Palestinian rights group Al Haq, says that the dossier includes evidence that Israel forcibly removes Palestinians from the territories and replaces them with Israeli colonists.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry was studying the submission and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lawyers have already submitted a file to the ICC over alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza, occupied east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

“Since two years, Palestine is under preliminary examination,” said lawyer Gilles Devers. “In Gaza, we think two years is too long.”

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has formally asked the ICC to investigate Israel, which is not a party to the Rome Statute that governs the court, for alleged war crimes.

It has presented the court with a dossier alleging abuses during the Gaza war in the summer of 2014, and for the Israeli occupation and colonisation of Palestinian territories.

In January 2015, the tribunal opened a preliminary examination into alleged abuses by all sides in the conflict.

An ICC delegation visited Israel and the occupied West Bank in late 2016 but Palestinian activists have complained that the investigation has stalled since then.