International Criminal Court and Palestine
The International Criminal Court in the Hague have confirmed that they have jurisdiction over Occupied Palestine. This decision paves the way for investigations into possible war crimes in the occupied territories.
The statement of the Palestinian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said:
"This is a historic day for the principle of criminal accountability. The investigation that this Decision has now facilitated sends a clear message to perpetrators of heinous crimes and their accomplices that they are not out of reach and that their crimes will not go unpunished. Finally and after decades of agony and suffering, the Palestinian people’s inherent right to seek justice and accountability will be within reach and justice can be denied no longer."
This decision is about accountability and justice which have thus far been lacking in Israel’s practices and policies with the occupied Palestinian territories.
It is an important milestone in the struggle of the Palestinian people to realise their inalienable rights and ending impunity for the perpetrators of grave crimes.
UN expert Michael Lynk said. “This ruling opens the door for credible allegations of Rome Statute crimes to finally be investigated and potentially reach the trial stage at the ICC.” .
The State of Palestine welcomes the decision of the ICC and will continue co-operate with the forthcoming investigations fully.
Peace, Freedom and Human Rights
Our lasting goal is to achieve an independent, sovereign Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital city. This is commonly referred to as the two-state solution, whereby an independent Palestine lives peacefully alongside our neighbour.
The delineation and demarcation of agreed upon borders are central to reaching an end of conflict on the basis of the two-state solution.
The 1967 border, which is defined as the 1949 Armistice Line along with all legal modification thereto up to June 4th 1967 is the internationally-recognized border between Israel and the occupied State of Palestine.
A basic principle of international law is that no state may acquire territory by force. Israel has no valid claim to any part of the territory it occupied in 1967.
UN Resolution 2334 affirmed that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.
Our position on borders has evolved since 1948. Our national movement once laid claim to its rights over all of historic Palestine, an area that includes modern day Israel.
Since 1988, however, in the interest of achieving peace, we accepted the compromise of 22 percent of historic Palestine, seeking a state of our own in the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.
Despite this, Israel continues to colonize and encroach on our rights and our land by building the Wall, expanding settlements, confiscating and grabbing Palestinian Land, demolishing of Palestinian homes, in violation of international law.
Settlements and Colonization
Since 1967, Israel has colonized the occupied Palestinian territories by systematically transferring parts of its civilian population into the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in violation of international law.
Today, more than half a million Israeli settlers, including over 190,000 in and around East Jerusalem, live in more than 250 settlements and outposts established on land illegally seized from Palestinians.
These settlements range in size from nascent settlements or “outposts,” consisting of a few trailers, to entire towns of tens of thousands of settlers.
The aim and effect of Israel’s settlement enterprise has been to alter the oPt’s status, both physically and demographically, so as to prevent its return to us.
The construction of Israeli settlements is designed to illegally confiscate our land and natural resources while confining our population to unsustainable, ever-shrinking enclaves and severing East Jerusalem from the rest of the oPt.
By limiting the territorial contiguity and economic viability of the oPt, Israeli settlements pose the single greatest threat to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, and hence, to a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
From 1947 to 1949, more than 726,000 Palestinians were expelled from or forced to leave their homes and became refugees prior to, and immediately following, Israel’s statehood declaration. Many fled from direct military assaults, while others fled from fear of imminent assaults by militias. Some 150,000 Palestinians remained in the areas of Palestine that became the State of Israel, including 46,000 Palestinians who were internally displaced during the war. Israel has refused to allow these internally displaced Palestinians to return to their homes and villages. This ethnic cleansing continued in the military aggression in 1967 when thousands more Palestinians were displaced. Since then, we have continued to face displacement within the oPt as a result of Israeli policies that include home demolition, evictions, land confiscation, residency revocation, construction of settlements and the Separation Wall, and the massive supporting Israeli military presence. Neither the 1948 refugees nor the 1967 refugees and internally displaced persons have been allowed by Israel to return to their homes within what are now Israel and the oPt.
Today, there are approximately 7 million Palestinian refugees, around half of whom are stateless, living in refugee camps throughout the occupied territories and in neighbouring countries. For decades, Israel has denied Palestinian refugees the right to return, violating UNGA Resolution 194, while providing for unrestricted Jewish immigration to Israel. Resolution 194 states “…the [Palestinian] refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”
A just resolution of the refugee issue – one that recognizes the right of return and provides a range of meaningful choices to refugees – is essential to a successful negotiated solution for ending the occupation. A just solution to the refugee issue must address two aspects: the right of return and reparations that.
Since the beginning of the occupation in the 1960’s, Israel has completely controlled Palestinian water resources and deprived us of access to an equitable and reasonable share of transboundary shared water, in violation of international law.
Instead, Israel has used our water resources for its illegal settlements and meeting the demands of its growing population, forcing our communities to purchase water from the Israeli company at high commercial prices.
The availability of fresh water has decreased markedly on a per capita basis since the 1995 Interim Agreement. The per capita consumption of water in Israel is over four times greater than that in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The groundwater in Gaza is in a state of crisis, due to massive Israeli pumping from large wells surrounding Gaza, by over-pumping inside Gaza in reaction to Israeli imposed water scarcity, and due to contamination resulting from the Gaza Strip’s dearth of waste processing facilities. As a result, 95 percent of the water is non-drinkable.
The attainment of water rights and the equitable and reasonable allocation of water are required for a successful two-state solution and future political stability in the region.
Israel deducts millions of dollars from the clearance revenues for treatment of Palestinian sewage that crosses the green line.
Such an onerous deduction is done in absence of sewage protocol between the parties and with no consent from the Palestinian side.
Water issues are linked to, and impact numerous other issues to be negotiated, including borders, settlements, economic relations and refugees, among others.
We must have control over and access to our water resources.
We accept the principle of international water law stipulating that both Israel and Palestine are entitled to an equitable and reasonable allocation of shared freshwater resources, both groundwater and surface water resources.
We further uphold the other two key principles of customary international water law– no significant harm; and prior notification.
We strongly believe that solution to the water issue must be just & sustainable over time requiring appropriate monitoring
As the political, economic and spiritual heart of our nation, there can be no Palestinian state without East Jerusalem as its capital. We are committed to respecting freedom of worship at, and access to, religious sites within East Jerusalem for everyone.
The international community, including the UN and the EU, do not recognize Israel’s claim of sovereignty over East Jerusalem. This occupation contravenes international law, confirmed by a series of United Nations General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, which defines the eastern part of the city as an inalienable part of Occupied Palestinian Territory. Therefore, the Fourth 1949 Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in occupied territories is fully applicable to the inhabitants of East Jerusalem. It is a city under occupation.
The annexation of Jerusalem and it’s environs was declared to have “no legal validity” by the UN. In conformity with international law (Partition plan 181) and as stated in the Declaration of Principles, all of Jerusalem (and not only East Jerusalem) is subject to permanent status negotiations. With respect to East Jerusalem, because it remains part of the territory occupied since 1967, Israel has no right to any part of it.
Today, more than 435,000 Palestinians live in Jerusalem according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. These Palestinian Jerusalemites face particular challenges with an onerous permit system operated by Israel which keeps families separated and restricts movement. They also face regular home demolitions and evictions as Israel attempts to ethnically cleanse the city and surrounding annexed lands and install illegal settlers in their place. East Jerusalem is essential to the economic, political and cultural viability of our future state. There can be no integrated Palestinian national economy and, thus no sustainable resolution of the conflict, without a negotiated solution on Jerusalem that guarantees our rights.