President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday that he would appeal to the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into an arson attack carried out by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank which killed a Palestinian infant.
“We are immediately preparing the file that will be submitted to the ICC,” Abbas told reporters, while also denouncing “war crimes and crimes against humanity committed each day by Israelis against the Palestinian people.”
In the speech at his headquarters in Ramallah, Abbas said that the arson attack was one in a series of crimes committed by Israeli settlers and the government.
He demanded that Israel halt settlement building and called on the international community — above all the United States — to condemn the Israeli leadership.
Palestinian Authority Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riyad al-Maliki, said that settler groups who commit so-called “price-tag” attacks should be labeled as terrorist groups by Israel and the international community.
He urged the UN Security Council to take action against such attacks on Palestinian civilians.
“It is a stigma on the international community that it repeatedly ignores organized terrorism by Israeli settlers’ against Palestinians,” the senior PA official said.
He added: “We refuse to accept any official Israeli condemnation of the terrorist crime; they hold direct responsibility for the crime by their ongoing silence and deliberate ignoring and rejection of labeling these groups as terrorists.”
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, al-Maliki said.
PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said the international community, the UN, and the European Union bear responsibility for not holding Israel accountable for its “organized crimes against humanity and Palestinian rights.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the firebombing “an act of terrorism in every respect” and ordered security forces to hunt down the perpetrators.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said such attacks would not be tolerated, adding “we will not allow terrorists to take the lives of Palestinians.”
On Friday, Israeli settlers smashed the windows of two homes in the Palestinian village of Duma near Nablus before throwing flammable liquids and Molotov cocktails inside, killing Ali Saad Dawabsha, one-and-a-half years old, who was trapped inside the house.
His mother and father, Riham and Saad, and their son Ahmad, four, also sustained serious burns and were evacuated to a nearby hospital, Daghlas said, adding that their home was left completely burned.
Israeli settlers have carried out at least 120 attacks on Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank since the start of 2015, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The United States listed price-tag attacks for the first time in the country’s annual report on terrorism in 2013.
While Israeli leadership declared a crackdown on settler attacks in May 2014 following price-tag attacks on Vatican offices in occupied East-Jerusalem, little action has been taken since.
The perpetrators of violence against Palestinian civilians and their property — both inside of Israel and the occupied territories — are rarely punished, with police closing most investigations without an indictment.
Taking Israel to the ICC is one of several moves currently being taken by Palestinian leadership in effort to confront policies of the Israeli occupation in the international arena.
(Ma’an – www.maannews.com)