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ICC won't probe Gaza war because Palestine 'not a state'
Published Tuesday 03/04/2012 (updated) 05/04/2012 09:09
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A family rushes from the scene of an Israeli missile strike on a building in the
Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Dec. 28, 2008.
(MaanImages/Hatem Omar)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The International Criminal Court will not investigate Israel's conduct during its December 2008 offensive on Gaza because Palestine is not a state, the world prosecutor said Tuesday.

In a statement, the ICC prosecutor acknowledged that over 130 countries and some UN bodies recognize Palestine as a state.

But, Palestine still holds observer status in the UN, and so the ICC cannot at this time investigate allegations of war crimes committed on Palestinian territory, the prosecutor said.

President Mahmoud Abbas applied for full UN membership in September at the UN Security Council. The US vowed to use its veto to block the bid and the council has not yet made any recommendation to admit Palestine.

The ICC said it could in the future consider allegations of crimes committed in Palestine if the Security Council determines that Palestine is a state.

Israel 'worked quietly' against bid

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday that diplomats had worked against the Palestinian request for an ICC investigation into Operation Cast Lead, Israel's 3-week offensive on the Gaza Strip that left nearly 1,400 Palestinians dead, including 300 children.

Commenting on the ICC's rejection of the bid for a tribunal, Lieberman said: "Not many understand how much work has been put into this issue," the Israeli news site Ynet reported.

"We have kept it out of the media," Lieberman said. "The Foreign Minister worked very professionally, discreetly and quietly."

ICC 'open to accusations of political bias'

Amnesty International said the ICC's decision meant victims of Israel's war on Gaza were likely to be denied justice. The prosecutor's decision opened the ICC to accusations of political bias, it added.

The rights group said ICC judges should decide on the court's jurisdiction. It said the prosecutor had "dodged the question," after considering it for three years.

"For the past three years, the prosecutor has been considering the question of whether the Palestinian Authority is a "state" that comes under the jurisdiction of the ICC and whether the ICC can investigate crimes committed during the 2008-9 conflict in Gaza and southern Israel," said Marek Marczynski, head of Amnesty International’s International Justice campaign.

"Now, despite Amnesty International’s calls and a very clear requirement in the ICC’s statute that the judges should decide on such matters, the Prosecutor has erroneously dodged the question, passing it to other political bodies," he added.

Most of the 1,400 Palestinians killed in Operation Cast Lead were civilians.

According to UN figures, Israel's military destroyed over 3,500 residential homes and made 20,000 people homeless during the 22-day assault.

A UN fact-finding mission tasked with investigating allegations of war crimes found that Israel committed "grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of willful killings and willfully causing great suffering to protected persons."
1 ) Robert Haymond / Israel/Canada
03/04/2012 21:40
Three hundred of the 1,400 were civilians; the rest were Islamic fighters and supporters. Given that the brave Hamas "warriors" used women and children as shields, Israel should be commended due to its careful approach. Once Goldstein revised his report, we see the infamy of Islamic propaganda at work including in this news source (Maan).

2 ) Mel / Gaza
03/04/2012 22:12
Bias! The ICC has lost it's integrity!

3 ) Robert / US
03/04/2012 23:48
I can't believe what I'm reading .

4 ) shirley / australia
04/04/2012 00:56
this is the fault of the idiot dithering PA who refused to lock in Observer state in nov and could have even after Jan these idiots will destroy pal cause an obsaerver state can easily be changed into full state and promising Quartet not to do this after quartet redundant shows the gutless stupidity of PA PLO need to wake as do pals PA will lead pals road to nowhere just more of the same PA by locking in Observer state could have pushed forward for peace keepers to busy not wanting to upset US

5 ) Ben Alofs / UK/Netherlands
04/04/2012 01:00
A state commits war crimes against a stateless people and the cowardly ICC won't prosecute, because Palestine is just an 'observer state'. The road to statehood via the security council is blocked by a US veto. Would the ICC prosecute if Palestine is accepted as a state by the General Assembly? Or will the ICC hide behind the excuse that UNGA resolutions do not carry mandatory power? Where is justice in all this? Shame on you, ICC!

6 ) Mise Eire / Ireland
04/04/2012 01:21
Who needs the ICC to say that the murder of 1400 Palestinians (including 300 children) by the state of Israel was a crime?
Not me. Justice might be slow, but it will come - Allah kareem.

7 ) southparkbear / usa
04/04/2012 01:45
hehehe, you got lucky this time around. no one blaim you for starting a war. on the positive no ICC wrote a blank check for israel to fill in the detail next time around

8 ) MEL / USA
04/04/2012 02:18

9 ) Johnny / Canada
04/04/2012 04:37
Fairly simple explanation for this: you have to be a country to take a case to the ICC. No special exemptions for the palestinians. Its as clear cut as that.

10 ) Tibi / Tubas
04/04/2012 05:32
Non-States Deserve NO Protection from the International Criminal Court, and "Palestine is 'not a state', so the ICC won't investigate Gaza war", BUT, even if Gaza was a real state, it would be a state, that intentionally targets civilians and cities, so the ICC should NOT investigate when Gaza civilians and cities are hit, even if they were targeted by Israel, which they are NOT !!!!!

11 ) Hostage / USA
04/04/2012 08:29
The Secretary-General acts as depositary for the Rome Statute. He is obliged to accept treaty instruments from state members of UN special agencies, including UNECSO for multilateral agreements open for signature under the "Vienna" formula. The Rome Statute is open for signature by all states, not just the Vienna formula states. So the Prosecutor should have proceeded with an investigation after the UNESCO vote. Palestine should join the Court.

12 ) habeeb / palestine
04/04/2012 09:07
ICC will not investigate the crimes done by Israel on Palestinian civilian because we are not a state. well Catch 22 . Does the world want to enjoy watching another palestinian Holocoust by Israel ????

13 ) Nizar / Tanzania
04/04/2012 09:22
So in other words Israel can continue committing war crimes and crime against humanity with impunity and ICC keeps looking on as spectator? Shame - [email protected]

14 ) Julie / USA
04/04/2012 09:55
according to another news source which wrote an article on this: "Tuesday’s statement however said the court’s reach was not based on a principle of universal jurisdiction and it could open investigations only if asked to do so by either the UN Security Council or BY A RECOGNIZED STATE." ..... which means any recognized state can still call for the ICC to open an investigation against izrahell. i hope Pals seriously seek an ally to pursue this route on their behalf.

15 ) Charity Clayton / U K
04/04/2012 10:01
I have no words to describe my utter disgust at this decision. It seems that the ICC is using some sort of pedantic political dodgery to avoid these very serious issues. Whether Israel is charged with war crimes should depend on crimes committed in a war situation surely? Not on the classification of Palestine as "state" or "non-state". How did the nazi war criminals get prosecuted?, the Jews, gypsies and others were'nt a "state" were they?

16 ) Julie / USA
04/04/2012 10:09
also...seeing that the UNSC voted by majority to open an investigation on the ongoing criminal activities in the West Bank, Pals should take this to the UNSC too and ask them to call upon the ICC to investigate war crimes during the war on Gaza. ALL IS NOT LOST !!! Pals can still seek help and accomplish the same goal either through an ally member state or through the UNSC ... either way is all it takes to prosecute izrael via the ICC.

17 ) Mk / Kenya
04/04/2012 10:55
ICC is the instrument used by the ?powerfull to intimidate the poor and weak nations. Tony Blair, George Bush (senior and Junior), Clinton shall be trailed with regard to their crime in Iraq in the 1990s and during last war. UNICEF said that more 50000 children died due to the UN sanction that brought abuot sever malnutrition, and the use of mass distruction against Iraqis under the UN resolutions that were based on lies and fabricated reports.

04/04/2012 12:51

19 ) Stewart Mills / Australia
04/04/2012 14:28
There is still another option that can be tried. The ICC has jurisdiction to investigate crimes committed by nationals that citizens of State Parties to the Rome Treaty, that includes countries like Australia. Australians who were complicit in crimes committed in the Gaza war should be on notice that actions they committed are accountable to the ICC.

20 ) Freedom Calls / USA
04/04/2012 14:46
Robert Haymond that's BS like all your comments.I see you believe in double standards

21 ) southparkbear / usa
04/04/2012 14:54
yeah why not keep beating a dead horse that as usual will lead you palestinian to another 'victory'. please go ahead and spend 5 more years on the ICC. israel can use the time to do good things like building more housing where that nazi mufti stolen hotel stands

22 ) Dr John Jennings / UK
04/04/2012 16:07
There is one option that should be actioned right now and that is for any of us as individuals to submit a Proposal to the ICC Prosecutor with respect to named individuals resident in European States AIDING AND ABETTING crimes against humanity perpetrated by Israeli individuals as the Principal Offenders. In this situation named European states are signatories to the ICC; that is the essential requirement. It matters not in this situation that Israel is a non-signatory to the Rome Statute.

23 ) Mel / USA
04/04/2012 16:14
#14:Yes Julie! It would be prestigious for ANY UNGA members,if not a BUNCH of them combined,to act for Palestine &request an ICJ investigation by the Hague.We know that USG,UK,France &their old colonial lackies,plus a few SINKING islands with US military bases,will NOT honor universal laws/human rights!But OVER 160 nations do recognize the UN Charter/international law,honorably & always held a consensus re: Israel's war crimes,for 60 yrs.BRICS must demand ICJ investigate soon B4 more slaughter!

24 ) Nour / One-State
04/04/2012 16:24
I see. Israel, you hereby have carte-blanche to murder and pillage us until we are dust. Down with the ICC and the criminal, hypocritical "international community" and its Western mover.

25 ) @ Habeeb & Ivan (#s 12 & 18) / Help Yourself
04/04/2012 18:42
The Only ones that can help the Palestinians is the Palestinians, for:
- If they want to become a real state, then they will have to negotiate for it,
directly with Israel, and also make some nearly impossible compromises too, and
- Asking Russia, the UN, or anyone but Israel is just a way
to prolong the Occupation !!!

26 ) @ Nour #24 / USA
04/04/2012 18:52
Down with the ones that hate "ICC, the "international community",
and its Western mover", and given your distorted view of the situation,
If Israel really has "carte-blanche to murder and pillage" then maybe
You should consider negotiations, compromise, and a peace/state treaty,
Before Israelis start using their "carte-blanche", while you can still get
a less-than-desired, but more-than-realistic "Palestine" from Israel !!!!

27 ) Willy Bach / Costa Rica
04/04/2012 20:30
Israel is running out of excuses. It is even more apparent why they were desperate to prevent the Palestinians achieving statehood. They wanted to head-off the ICC. The decision of the ICC made that it cannot investigate Cast Lead because the Palestinians do not have a state is clearly one made under duress by the US and Israeli governments. The ICC can try cases like Thomas Lubanga Dyilo who was a non-state actor, so why not the Israeli government? This must not stand, it discredits the ICC.

28 ) mt / .....
05/04/2012 05:51
seems the ICC is a just a tool of the U.S. Govt

29 ) Martin / Australia
06/04/2012 01:38
The Jews and Gypsies were not daily firing rockets and sending suicide bombers against the Nazis. Your attempts at equivalence are pathetic and misguided.

30 ) Mitch Shalom / USA
07/04/2012 22:11
The very fact that 1400 Palestinians and 300 of them were children, were killed by the Israeli government, does not make it right and the Security Council should meet once more and make things right for the Palestinians. During the Holocoust, the jews and others who died by the Nazis, were not a state and justice was carried out by those in power. I do not see justice being carried out and the ICC should reinvestigate the crimes that were committed and bring about justice to the PA.

31 ) J. Glenn Evans / USA
10/04/2012 03:50
This is exactly why we need to form a credible International People Tribunal to to conduct trials and rule guilty or innocent those leaders of countries that commit war crimes and abuse their own people. Our public institutions such as governments and the ICC refrain from tackling sticky problems because of political pressure from powerful nations. J. Glenn Evans

32 ) Ahed Hussein / United States
13/04/2012 17:21
When Hitler killed millions of Jews, Israel was not founded yet as a country. How comes every single court in the world discussed and decided what to do w/o Israel was a country??
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