Joining the ICC: A Step Towards Accountability

Palestine became a member of the International Criminal Court on April 1, giving the court jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute war crimes committed in the occupied territories. JVP recognizes the right of Palestinians to pursue legal, non-violent recourse in the international arena, which is especially relevant in light of the lack of a peace process and the repeated statements against Palestinian statehood by newly re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Since the Oslo Accords, Israel has accelerated facts on the ground to make the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state impossible by accelerating settlement construction that effectively divides the land in the West Bank into discontiguous cantons. The construction of these settlements is illegal under Article 49 of the Geneva Convention, which prohibits the transfer of population into territory won in war.

As a member of the ICC, Palestinian leadership will have the ability to bring cases before the court, to address violations of international law such as settlement construction, the wall in the West Bank declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004, and war crimes committed during the latest conflict in Gaza including the targeting of medical facilities and UN shelters.

It is well past time for Israel to face accountability for its nearly 50-year occupation and recurring human rights abuses. We see this development as an opportunity to end Israeli impunity, and to bring to bear pressure to advance a lasting solution to the conflict based on principles of justice and international law.

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