Palestinians ask ICC to probe alleged Israeli human rights crimes

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However, it was yet to move to the next stage and open a full-blown investigation which could possibly lead to charges being brought.

"This step pursues justice by demanding accountability", said Maliki, adding those "responsible for the crimes, highlighted in the referral, must be held accountable for their actions without further delay".

Riyad al-Maliki is expected to meet with ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who has already vowed to "take any action warranted" in response to the Gaza clashes.

Since March, Gaza had witnessed massive Israel-Palestine clashes that have claimed lives of more than 100 people including 60 Palestines and injuring several others.

"Palestinians are exploiting global criminal Court for political purposes, rar than working to resume peace process", he added.

"The Palestinian move is not legally valid.the court has no jurisdiction over the Israeli-Palestinian issue since Israel is not a member state of the court and the Palestinian Authority is not a state", the MFA statement wrote.

The PLO is also calling on the worldwide community to "assume its legal, human and moral responsibilities" to guarantee the rights of the Palestinian people under global law and global humanitarian law.

Al-Malki has submitted a so-called "referral" to the Office of the ICC Prosecutor in The Hague to start an investigation into "Israel's settlements and war crimes in the Palestinian territories", according to a statement by the Palestinian Foreign Ministry. Israel has accused Gaza's rulers, Hamas, of exploiting protesting civilians and using them as human shields to carry out attacks.

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Although the Palestinians do not have independence, the state of Palestine was recognized as a nonmember state by the U.N. General Assembly in a landmark 2012 vote.

Israeli soldiers killed more than 60 Palestinians on 14 May in Gaza, the enclave's health ministry said, during protests focused on the United States embassy move from Tel Aviv to the disputed holy city.

Peace negotiations have been frozen for years while Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has rejected Washington's traditional role as a mediator after Donald Trump declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

The Hebrew Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains that ICC lacks jurisdiction over Israeli-Palestinian conflict, since Israel is not a member of Rome Statute and because Palestinian Authority is not a state, but a mere observer country in United Nations.

The court's prosecutors launched an initial investigation into allegations against Israel when the Palestinians first joined the court in 2015.

The step, known as a state party referral, seeks an investigation into Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, as well as Israeli military activity in the Gaza Strip, including the recent killing of dozens of Palestinians during mass protests along the border.

A four-ship Freedom Flotilla has set sail for the Gaza Strip to challenge Israel's decade-old blockade of the besieged territory.

Initially, the prosecutor may use open sources to build a case, and it is then up to the court's pretrial judges to decide whether the evidence is sufficient to approve a criminal investigation.

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