The Palestinian Authority has become a member of the International Criminal Court at the Hague.
This gives the Palestinian Authority the ability to file criminal charges against Israel’s military and civilian leaders.
In a ceremony on Wednesday morning in the Hague, the International Criminal Court recognized the Palestinian Authority as its 123rd member.
Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian politician, said in a speech marking the occasion that this is a “historic day for Palestinians.” He had said on Tuesday that the ICC has already started an “investigation into Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Jerusalem, in addition to its illegal settlement construction and expansion activities,” adding: “We will conduct all practical moves directly after Palestine is officially declared an ICC member on Wednesday.”
According to a UN report on the latest attack on Gaza, which began on June 8, 2014, Israel destroyed close to 18,000 homes and left 100,000 Palestinians homeless. During the 51-day conflict, 2,250 Palestinians were killed and 1,563 of those were civilians; 538 were children.
In August of 2014, the UN launched an investigation into whether war crimes had been committed during this conflict, which triggered criticism from Israel.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyadh Maleki said the Palestinian nation has been waiting for such a day and “every Palestinian who has suffered discrimination and injustice now feels that there might be something out there in the world that resembles justice.”
The International Criminal Court has only issued three orders in the past 13 years. Israel is not a member of the court but the state of Israel and its citizens can be prosecuted under the ICC authority.