Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has met with the International Criminal Court (ICC) today (30 October) to hand prosecutors a file documenting alleged Israeli crimes, including ethnic cleansing and extra-judicial executions. He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki for talks at the Hague with prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
The move follows a spate of recent violence, which has seen 60 Palestinians and nine Israelis killed. Between 1 and 26 October, 6,445 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces, with "the vast majority in protests and confrontations", according to the UN. In response to a spike in Palestinian knife crimes against Israelis, human rights organisation B'Tselem has expressed alarm at the seemingly disproportionate and "worrying trend to use firearms to kill Palestinians who have attacked Israelis or are suspected of such attacks."
The group notes that the army's "chosen response to such persons is the harshest possible, with lethal or – at the very least – unnecessary consequences." Strikingly, in cases when Jews have been suspected of attacks, none have been shot and a surge in violence has sparked fears that a third intifada, or uprising, could be on the horizon.
Palestinian Liberation Organization Secretary General, Saeb Erekat said a 52-page report was to be given to court officials today. In a statement, Erekat said it contains details of alleged "summary executions, collective punishments, house demolitions and ethnic cleansing". He added that it "gathers all the information on the Palestinian martyrs and their identities, the way in which they were executed, and is backed by verified photos and videos."
In January, Bensouda launched an initial inquiry into potential war crimes committed by both sides which would merit formal investigation. The probe followed the 50-day war between July and August 2014, which saw 2,200 Palestinians - a majority of whom were civilians - and 73 Israelis - mainly soldiers - killed.