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Palestine: World must press ICC to probe Israeli home demolitions

Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Saeb Erekat, has strongly condemned the recent demolition of a cluster of Palestinian homes in occupied East al-Quds as war crime, calling on the international community to push the International Criminal Court (ICC) into opening an immediate investigation into the incident.

On Tuesday, Erekat called on the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to implement her mandate under the Human Rights Council resolution 31/36, which demands a database of all business enterprises engaged in Israeli settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory, and to strive for international protection of Palestinians living under the Israeli occupation.

He also slammed the measures taken by Israeli authorities to expel Palestinians from al-Quds, including land grab, confiscations of identity paper, revocations of residency status and rejections of family reunification.

“The Israeli occupation forces, with the support of the Israeli Supreme Court, have ordered the demolition of these buildings using a security pretext, but the demolitions in Sur Baher are another example of Israel’s illegal policies and practices aimed at eliminating the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem (al-Quds) and defending the existence of the Israeli occupation,” Erekat highlighted.

The high-ranking Palestinian official further noted that the Israeli regime continues to “escape punishment time and time again” despite repeated calls for the international community to intervene and stop demolition of Palestinian homes, which result in forced displacement.

“The international community has not only failed to stop demolitions and forced displacement in Sur Baher, but also failed to hold Israel accountable for its continued violations of international law. Israel’s actions are not only serious violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, but are war crimes pursuant to the Rome Statute of the ICC. Therefore, we call for the urgent cessation of crimes being committed in the occupied State of Palestine,” Erekat said.

The remarks came a day after hundreds of Israeli troops with bulldozers tore down homes in Sur Baher despite local protests and international criticism.