Ban announced Palestine will join the ICC on April 1, in a short statement published on a U.N. website. The move paves the way for Palestinians to bring long standing allegations of war crimes against Israel before the court.
The Palestinian Authority (P.A.) is widely believed to be planning to call on the ICC to investigate Israel's conduct during its offensive in Gaza in 2014.
The offensive left over 2000 Gazans dead – most were civilians. Membership of the ICC also means Palestinians could be investigated for war crimes.
Human rights groups have accused Israeli forces of directly targeting civilians during the offensive against Gaza such as health workers, along with bombing U.N. facilities.
However, when the P.A. first applied for membership last Friday, Palestinian Ambassador to the U.N. Riyad Mansour stated he wasn't concerned about counter-complaints from Tel Aviv. “We are not afraid of the judgment of the international law,” he stated.
Israel responded to the Palestinian application to the ICC by freezing the transfer of tax revenues to the P.A. worth close to US$127 million.
The withholding of the tax revenue has been slammed as a violation of Israel's obligation under the Oslo Accords by the European Union's high representative for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini.
“(The) E.U. is providing considerable support, including financial assistance, to ensure the building of the institutions and infrastructure of a future Palestinian State. These achievements should not be put at risk by not meeting obligations regarding the timely and transparent transfer of tax and custom revenues,” Mogherini stated, according to RT. the United States has also condemned the decision.
Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also vowed to impede any attempt by international investigators to press charges against Israelis for war crimes.
“We will not let (Israeli) … soldiers and officers be dragged to the International Criminal Court in The Hague,” he said, according to AFP.
“We will protect (Israeli Defense Force) soldiers as they protect us,” he stated.
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