Palestinians warn Israel must be held accountable over settlements

UNITED NATIONS Tue Dec 4, 2012 10:56am EST

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The Palestinians accused Israel in a letter to the United Nations of planning to commit further "war crimes" by expanding Jewish settlements after the Palestinians won de facto U.N. recognition of statehood and warned that Jerusalem must be held accountable.

In the letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the U.N. Security Council, the Palestinians said Israel was behaving "in a rogue, hostile and arrogant manner, contravening all principles and rules of international law and reacting with contempt to the will of the international community."

After the U.N. General Assembly upgraded the Palestinians' status at the world body on Thursday from "observer entity" to "non-member state," Israel said on Friday it would build 3,000 more settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - areas Palestinians want for a future state, along with Gaza.

Approximately 500,000 Israelis and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

"A clear message must be sent to Israel that all of its illegal policies must be ceased or that it will be held accountable and will have to bear the consequences if its violations and obstruction of peace efforts," Palestinian U.N. observer Riyad Mansour wrote in the letter dated Monday.

After winning the U.N. status upgrade, the Palestinians can now access the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which prosecutes people for genocide, war crimes and other major human rights violations and where it could complain about Israel.

The Palestinians have said they will not rush to sign up to the International Criminal Court, but have warned that seeking action against Israel in the court would remain an option if Israel continued to build illegal settlements.

Prior to the U.N. vote, some Western nations unsuccessfully pushed for a Palestinian pledge not to pursue Israel in the ICC.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Comments (2)
RRowleyTucson wrote:
Palestinians need to remember that should they join the ICC they have a LOT more to lose than does Israel. Something everyone keeps overlooking is that Israel is NOT a signatory to the Rome Accords, is NOT a member of the ICC and the ICC does NOT have any jurisdiction over either Israel or it’s people. If the Palestinians join the ICC then THEY MUST answer to any finding of the court. Even though Israel is not a member of the ICC they can still bring charges against ICC members. Have the Palestinians anything to worry about? DEFINITELY!

Dec 04, 2012 12:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Eric.Klein wrote:
Where is there any international law that says you can not build on land liberated from occupation and ethnic cleansing?

In 1948 the UN declared Israel from the “river to the sea” then Jordan attacked, captured, occupied, and ethnically cleansed Judea and Sumeria – kicking our Jews who’s families had lived there for thousands of years. Then in 1967 Israel liberated that land and started returning it to its rightful owners.

The peace treaty with Jordan, UNSC resolution 242, and all other documents consider this land in dispute between Israel and Jordan. Even when Arafat attacked Jordan to make Jordan into Palestine no one considered the land west of the Jordan river to be Palestinian.

Why should it be now? And if it is, then it should belong to those who were known as Palestinians in the 1920′s and 30′s – Jews born under the British Mandate, not Arabs who moved in after 1900.

Dec 04, 2012 2:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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