Israeli Tanks Cross Gaza Strip, Shoot At Farmers, ICC Releases Fact Sheet On Israel War Crime Investigation

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Israeli Tanks Cross Gaza Strip, Shoot At Farmers, ICC Releases Fact Sheet On Israel War Crime Investigation

Illustrative image, circa. March 2019. Click to see full-size image

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On February 15th, a number of Israeli tanks invaded beyond the Gaza Strip, in the east of the city of Jabalya.

Then they opened fire at Palestinian farmers, Palestinian security sources said.

According to the sources, three bulldozers and three tanks breached the borders and trampled on agricultural land and farms inside Gaza.

They destroyed land and building dirt mounds and opened fire and shot smoke canisters.

Drones were flying overhead.

On February 14th, six Israeli tanks invaded areas east of Bet Lahiya and opened fire at Palestinian farmers, apparently to force them to leave their farms as they razed several agricultural facilities.

The IDF hasn’t reported anything on the matter.

Incursions such as these are commonplace.

Back on January 20th and 21st, Israeli tank fire struck a number of sites in the Gaza Strip, including a residential home, in two nights of attacks.

Local Palestinian sources said there were no casualties from the Israeli artillery barrage, but material damage was done to a house located in the Maghazi refugee camp.

Separately, the International Criminal Court released a fact sheet to prove that the investigation into Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip is not politically motivated.

In one section, answering the direct question of whether the decision was political, the document states: “No. The issues raised by the Prosecutor in its Request clearly raised legal questions on the Court’s jurisdiction which required a legal answer by the Chamber.”

Furthermore, the document directly addresses “the comments of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other states,” pushing back against their statements by saying the court is an “independent and impartial judicial institution crucial for ensuring accountability for the gravest crimes under international law.”

The document added that the court carries out its work in accordance with its mandate and “acts strictly within the legal framework and the jurisdictional competence bestowed upon it by the Rome Statute.”

The fact sheet pushes back against comments made by Netanyahu and a statement his office put out in the name of Israel’s security cabinet that said it “completely rejects the scandalous decision of the court that could enable the investigation of Israel for false war crimes.”

“The cabinet determines that the court has no authority to make such a decision. Israel is not a member of the international court and the Palestinian Authority does not have the status of a state,” read the statement.

Israel is not a member of the ICC and neither is the US. The Palestinians joined the court in 2015. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the decision in a televised, English-language, address.

“The international court was established to prevent horrors such as those that were perpetrated by the Nazis against the Jewish people. Instead, it is persecuting the state of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said on February 6th.

The ICC is meant to serve as a court of last resort when countries’ own judicial systems are unable or unwilling to investigate and prosecute war crimes. Israel’s military has mechanisms to investigate alleged wrongdoing by its troops, there is heavy criticism that the system is insufficient.

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