Friday, 16 January 2015

ICC opens preliminary examination into war crimes in Palestine

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court will open a preliminary inquiry into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories, the first formal step that could lead to charges against officials there or in Israel, the court said on Friday.

They will determine whether preliminary findings merit a full investigation into alleged atrocities which could result in charges against individuals on either the Israeli or Palestinian side.

The Palestinian Authority two weeks ago officially submitted to the United Nations the request to join 22 international treaties, including the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC.


Hundreds pray at Rafah crossing to protest closure

Hundreds of Palestinians performed Friday prayers in front of the Rafah crossing in Gaza in protest over its prolonged closure.

Protesters demanded that Egypt reopen the crossing -- the only connection between Palestinians in Gaza and the outside world -- and urged the Palestinian Authority to support them.

The Palestinian Ministry of Internal Affairs says over 25,000 humanitarian cases are on a waiting list to use the crossing for medical treatment and to continue their studies abroad.

Some 2,352 Palestinians were able to leave Gaza when Egypt reopened the crossing for three days in December, after having closed the crossing in October after an attack on Egyptian soldiers by militants in Sinai.

In comparison, during the first six months of the year when the crossing was closed for a total of 22 days, an average of 6,400 people crossed each month, the UN has said. more

Hamas’s options and the fate of Gaza

From MEMO - First of all, we cannot accept the continuation of the situation in the Gaza Strip which is suffering from an ongoing blockade and the closure of border crossings, in addition to the deterioration of living conditions, power outages, a lack of staff salaries and security explosions. It is unacceptable for any friend or brother to keep Gaza in the largest prison in history, regardless of the justifications or pretexts, and use the people's livelihood and salaries to achieve individual or sectarian purposes.

Despite the fact that it has been over five months since the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and over seven months since the formation of the national reconciliation government, the reality in the Gaza Strip has not changed. On the contrary, matters have become worse. The siege and closure of the crossings have become worse than at any other time, the reconstruction of the Strip has been postponed until further notice, and the issue of the salaries of the employees appointed by the Hamas government still hasn't been resolved. This has led to the Fatah-aligned employees, who are committed to Ramallah's decision for them to remain in Gaza, to stay at home while continuing to receive their salaries. The situation at the borders and crossings has also worsened.

The situation has escalated to the point where is poses a security threat which, after reaching the festival platform and the homes of Fatah leaders, reached the home of the government spokesperson and the ATMs. Warnings and threats have also been made to ministers and bank managers. All of this has put Hamas, which is practically considered the governing authority, responsible for stopping the disorder and explosions and finding and prosecuting the perpetrators.

Indicators are increasingly signalling the near explosion or collapse of the Gaza Strip in the event that the situation remains the same. The question that comes to mind now is not whether there will be an explosion, but when? How? Who will it target and who will it benefit?

There are those who say that the problem boils down to the fact that after its power model failed and the Muslim Brotherhood government fell in Egypt, Hamas must continue the path it stated by dissolving its government, ending its individual control over the Gaza Strip, and enabling the government to carry out its duties, form its institutions, reinstate its employees and control the border and crossings. This is an Arab and international condition that cannot be achieved without opening the crossings and really embarking on reconstructing Gaza. According to those promoting this idea, Hamas must concede in order for Gaza to live. more