In a historic and unprecedented step, the state of Palestine is poised to submit a file to the International Criminal Court (ICC) containing potentially damning information about Israel's alleged breaches of international law that could lead to the indictment of Israeli officials.
The documents represent the first formal complaint of the state of Palestine as such after it joined The Hague's court in April, and detail alleged war crimes committed by Israel and the Israel Defense Forces.
Based on the Palestinian communication, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will have to rule whether to go ahead with a preliminary examination and possible full criminal investigation. The probe would focus on Israeli officials involved in alleged war crimes, as states themselves cannot be indicted.
"It is the first time that the State of Palestine goes formally to the court and provides information," Xavier Abu Eid, a spokesman for Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told IBTimes UK. "We are showing seriousness. We are not backtracking on the ICC. We believe ICC is a legitimate step in order to bring justice to our people and deserve what they deserve under international law."
The file itself contains three major points of focus: the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and settlement construction, which is considered illegal under international law; the treatment of Palestinian prisoners and last year's offensive on Gaza, dubbed Operation Protective Edge.
"We are filing any supporting document that could help the ICC take the work further from the already existing internal investigation to a full criminal probe," Ashraf Khatib, communication advisor for the PLO, told IBTimes UK. The submission, which covers the timeframe from 13 June 2014 and 31 May 2015, will not mention individuals, according to Khatib.
"What we wanted is to encourage the court to start looking into crimes and cases by themselves," he said. By focusing on the Gaza war and the settlement expansion, the complaint will likely cause the anger of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who led the seven-week war against Hamas that left 2,251 Palestinians dead.
A UN Human Rights Council's report into the war accused both Israel and Hamas of serious violations of humanitarian and international law, which may amount to war crimes.
Another Israeli official that may face prosecution is the defence minister, Moshe Ya'alon, who recently defended the Gaza offensive, saying "I can still look at myself in the mirror".
Other members of the security cabinet of the time, such as ex-justice minister Tzipi Livni, former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman and Naftali Bennett, who was economy minister, may also end up in the ICC target list.
The Palestinian communication includes cases such as Israeli decision to build 2,600 houses at Givat Hamatos in East Jerusalem and the killing of four boys on a Gaza beach during the war.
Article 8 of the ICC's Rome statute, in particular, will form the basis of a potential probe. Section 2 of the article deals with the "transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory".