Gaza Probe: Did Israel Force ICC to Put Off Visit?

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International Criminal Court Anadolu Agency

RAMALLA (Anadolu Agency) — A Palestinian diplomat on Monday announced that a planned visit to Palestine later this month by a delegation from The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) would be postponed.

“The ICC has informed the Palestinian government of the postponement of the delegation’s visit – initially slated for the end of July – to next fall,” Nabil Abu Zened, Palestinian ambassador to the Netherlands, told Palestinian public radio.

The court, he added, had attributed the move to technical and procedural reasons.

Abu Zened went on, however, to suggest the delay may have been due to Israeli pressure.

Last month, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki submitted a first batch of documentary evidence to ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, which, he said, included proof of “crimes and violations committed by Israel in the Palestinian territories.”

The evidence include files related to Palestinian political prisoners languishing in Israeli jails, illegal Israeli settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and documentary evidence of war crimes committed by Israel during last year’s military onslaught on the Gaza Strip.

In the summer of last year, Israel carried out a weeks-long offensive against the blockaded Gaza Strip with the stated aim of stopping rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave.

Over 2,160 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed – and some 11,000 injured – during the offensive, which finally ended with a cease-fire deal signed in August.

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