President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday announced that the first steps had been made towards submitting a case to the International Criminal Court on a Palestinian teen killed by Israeli forces two weeks ago.
Laith al-Khaldi was shot in the chest by Israeli forces after allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail at the Atara military checkpoint’s army post on July 31.
The 17-year-old later died from his injuries after undergoing two surgeries.
Abbas’ announcement came after he hosted al-Khaldi’s family at his home and said that Palestinian FM Riyad al-Maliki had been assigned to prepare a file on the teen’s death for submission to the ICC.
The president added that al-Khaldi was killed in cold blood and that the crime would not pass by without justice.
Al-Khaldi’s mother reportedly handed him a fistful of soil from her son’s grave, while his father thanked Abbas for his interest in his son’s death.
The night al-Khaldi was killed, clashes had broken out across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in protest of an arson attack carried out by extremist settlers that left an 18-month-old dead. The infant’s father later died from severe burns.
Al-Khaldi is one of at least 22 Palestinians to be killed by Israeli forces since the start of 2015, not including those killed in attacks by Israeli settlers or prisoners who died while in Israeli jails.
Al-Maliki’s submission on al-Khaldi’s case will join several that Palestinian leadership is currently using to pursue charges against Israel for war crimes in the International Criminal Court.
In response to the arson attack that took place the same day as al-Khaldi’s death, the Palestinian FM said: “The arson attack was a clear reflection of the “incitement and hatred” against Palestinians that the Israeli government portrays daily in its policies, decisions and laws.”
Palestinian leadership hopes to pursue such cases with the ICC as rights groups argue Israel’s investigative mechanisms are not capable of carrying out credible investigations into the alleged violations of international law.
Such lack of credible investigation, they say, promotes impunity for Israeli forces who use excessive force in crowd control methods and in other circumstances.
Israeli media Thursday said that the rules of engagement for Israeli military forces had been temporarily “refined” to reduce the use of live fire against Palestinians on the ground.
The move came after a slew of international condemnation of recent Palestinian deaths at the hands of Israeli forces, four of whom were killed by live fire in the month of July alone.
Rights groups have reported that Israeli forces frequently open live fire when their lives are not in imminent danger, and that a lack of clear rules of engagement have prevented their proper implementation and promoted impunity of forces.
While Israeli leadership has rejected allegations of committing war crimes both in the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank, the state announced last month that it would cooperate in the ICC war crimes probe.