A new request has been submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate senior officials from the United States and Israel over alleged war crimes committed in Palestine. They include Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu, Mike Pompeo and Jared Kushner.
Professor William Schabas, who is leading on the submission to the Office of the ICC Prosecutor, announced details of the complaint at an online press conference today. It calls for a war crimes investigation into senior officials leading the Proposed Peace Plan, known as the “deal of the century”. The plan seeks to annex portions of the sovereign territory of the State of Palestine.
Schabas submitted the communication on behalf of four Palestinians who are directly affected by the plan. The communication highlights that the proposed plan, which is being implemented unilaterally without the consent of Palestine, violates international law, specifically in relation to illegal settlements and the threatened annexation of Palestinian territory.
ICC Prosecutors are urged to investigate the threatened annexation of portions of the sovereign territory of the State of Palestine through the implementation of the plan. The communication emphasises that there is credible evidence that Trump, Pompeo, Kushner and other senior US officials are complicit in acts that may amount to war crimes relating to the transfer of populations into occupied territory and the annexation of sovereign territory of the State of Palestine.
Speaking at the press conference today Schabas, Professor of International Law at London’s Middlesex University, explained that he had submitted the complaint earlier this morning at the request of prominent Palestinians. He explained that the complaint submitted to the ICC brings to the attention of prosecutors in The Hague the relevance of the “Peace Plan” to the wider takeover of Palestine. This morning’s communication urges the ICC to consider the plan within its wider investigation on alleged war crimes committed by Israel.
In December, the ICC’s office of the prosecutor ended a five-year preliminary examination of the “situation in the state of Palestine”, and concluded there were reasonable grounds to believe that war crimes have been, or are being, committed in the occupied West Bank. Earlier this month, the ICC confirmed that it will proceed with its investigation into Israeli war crimes despite the continued application of the 1993 Oslo Accords. US President Trump reacted to the ICC decision by imposing sanctions against prosecutors and officials of the intergovernmental organisation. He signed an executive order to block ICC officials directly involved in investigating American troops and intelligence officials and those of allied nations from entering the US.
The communication to the ICC highlights that the senior US and Israeli officials who are implementing the plan, are doing so in the full knowledge that it violates the human rights of all Palestinian citizens, including their right to self-determination, citizenship and freedom of movement within the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
On this day in 1920, the first High Commissioner for Palestine Herbert Samuel, was handed the administration of the country by the British government and signed a receipt saying “one Palestine, complete”
By Jehan Alfarra
On this day in 1920, the first High Commissioner for Palestine, 1st Viscount Samuel, Herbert Samuel, was handed the administration of the country by the British government and signed a receipt acknowledging that he had received “one Palestine, complete”. It was still another three years before the Mandate for Palestine granted to Britain by the League of Nations came into effect.
What: Receipt of “one Palestine, complete”
When: 30 June 1920
Who was Herbert Samuel?
The Liberal politician was the first nominally-practising Jew to serve as a cabinet minister and lead a major political party in Britain. Though not a member of the World Zionist Organisation himself, while Liberal Home Secretary in 1914 Samuel obtained the organisation’s latest publications. Not long after, he found himself campaigning for a Jewish national home in Palestine and “co-operating closely”’, as he wrote in his memoirs, with Zionist leaders to further their cause.
With the outbreak of World War One, Samuel’s involvement with Zionism grew exponentially. In 1915, he proposed the idea of establishing a British protectorate over Palestine after the war and argued for a homeland in the region for the Jews, who had waited for “over eighteen hundred years” to return [sic] to Palestine, a land to which their connection, he said, was “almost as ancient as history itself”. Palestine at the time formed part of the Ottoman Empire, with a majority Muslim indigenous population, having been under Muslim rule for centuries.
“Let a Jewish centre be established in Palestine,” Samuel urged in a cabinet memorandum that he drafted. “Let it achieve, as it may well achieve, some measure of spiritual and intellectual greatness, and insensibly the character of the individual Jew, wherever he might be, would be raised. The sordid associations which have attached to the Jewish name would be, to some degree at least, sloughed off, and the value of the Jews as an element in the civilisation of the European peoples would be enhanced.”
Samuel’s ideas increased the British government’s pro-Zionist orientation and paved the way for the 1917 Balfour Declaration, in which the British Foreign Secretary declared the government’s support for the establishment of “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.
The Ottomans entered World War One in November 1914 on the side of the Central Powers, and the Ottoman Empire was dissolved in 1921 after their defeat. A mandate for the administration of the territories of Palestine was assigned to Britain by the League of Nations and came into effect on 29 September 1923.
In a series of letters exchanged during the war — known as the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence — the British government agreed to recognise and honour Arab independence after the war if the Arabs rose up against the Ottoman Empire. After the war, however, Britain and France divided up and occupied former Ottoman territory as agreed under the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement and accepted the mandate system to govern Palestine. This was seen as a betrayal by the Arabs.
What happened next?
Viscount Samuel was appointed as the first High Commissioner for Palestine by British Prime Minister David Lloyd George. On 30 June 1920, he signed a receipt (complete with “E&OE” – Errors and Omissions Excepted) addressed to him by the head of the British military administration in Palestine, Major General Sir Louis Bols, acknowledging that he had received “one Palestine, complete”. The receipt marked the handover of the land of Palestine from military to civilian administration.
In the eyes of Palestine’s indigenous population who were seeking their own independence and right of self-determination, Britain had handed over the territory to settler-colonial Zionists backed by Samuel, who governed the land until 1925. The people of Palestine had not been consulted about any of this.
According to Samuel in a speech that he delivered in Jerusalem in June 1921, the words of the Balfour Declaration, “Mean that the Jews, a people who are scattered throughout the world, but whose hearts are always turned to Palestine, should be enabled to found here their home; and that some among them, within the limits which are fixed by the numbers and interests of the present population, should come to Palestine in order to help by their resources and efforts to develop the country to the advantage of all its inhabitants.”
Two months later, in a report reviewing his first year as High Commissioner, Samuel said that Zionists “sometimes forget or ignore the present inhabitants of Palestine… many of whom hold, and hold strongly, very different views.”
Britain’s policy of facilitating Jewish immigration to Palestine with the stated goal of establishing a Jewish national home, and the disregard for the indigenous population and their national aspirations, resulted in the Great Revolt of 1936, a nationalist uprising by the Palestinians against the British administration, and Jewish insurgency in Mandatory Palestine.
Britain decided to end its mandate in Palestine on 15 May 1948. David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organisation at the time and later the first Prime Minister of Israel, read the “Declaration of Independence” establishing the State of Israel one day before the mandate ended.
Zionist militias and terrorist gangs had already been committing atrocities against the people of Palestine and, indeed, the British authorities, leading to around 750,000 Palestinians being forced out of the nascent state. More than 400 Palestinian villages and towns were depopulated and destroyed; this figure now exceeds 530. This “ethnic cleansing” came to be known as the Palestinian Nakba, the Catastrophe. Despite its membership of the United Nations being conditional upon Israel allowing Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and claiming their property, the first government in Tel Aviv passed a series of laws banning them from doing so. In the three years from May 1948 to the end of 1951, some 700,000 Jews settled in the new state.
Israel continues to ignore the legitimate right of return as established by UN Resolution 194 in 1948 and reaffirmed every year since. It was also mentioned specifically as an “inalienable right” by UN Resolution 3236 in 1974.
Less than two decades after the Nakba, in 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the Six Day War and started constructing illegal settlements across the occupied Palestinian territories. Contrary to the Zionist narrative, Israel actually started hostilities by bombing and destroying the Egyptian Air Force on the ground.
Today, Israel continues to exercise military control over Palestinians in the occupied territories, and there are now an estimated 6.5 million refugees and their descendants.
100 years later
Marking 100 years since the handover of Palestine, the receipt signed by Herbert Samuel for “one Palestine, complete” has been included in a panel on the Palestinian History Tapestry, which tells the story of the indigenous people of Palestine through skilled, traditional Palestinian embroidery.
“The real lesson of the story of ‘one Palestine, complete’,” says Palestinian author and patron of the Tapestry project Dr Ghada Karmi, “is the light it throws on Zionism’s influence over the development of British policy, as early as 1920.”
Such influence continues to this day, arguably more than ever.
The Israeli authorities released, Monday, a young Palestinian woman, a mother, identified as Shorouq al-Badan, 25, after holding her under arbitrary Administrative Detention orders, without charges or trial, for nearly 12 months.
Al-Badan was welcomed by her family, including her children who were unable to see her throughout the duration of her imprisonment, as well as dozens of residents who celebrated her release.
Al-Badan was abducted by the Israeli army on July 15th, 2019, after the soldiers stormed and ransacked her home in Teqoua’ town, southeast of Bethlehem, south of occupied Jerusalem in the West Bank.
She was first held in the HaSharon Israeli prison before she was moved to the ad-Damoun prison.
During her imprisonment, Shorouq suffered various health issues, including severe neurological, abdominal, and kidney complications.
Israel is still holding captive more than 40 Palestinian women, including Khaleda Jarrar, a democratically elected legislator and a member of the Political Bureau of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Among the imprisoned women are the oldest serving Amal Jihad Taqatqa, who was abducted in 2014, and was sentenced to seven years, in addition to Shatila Suleiman Abu Eyada, from Kufur Qassem, and Shorouq Salah Dweiyat, from occupied Jerusalem, each of them was sentenced to sixteen years in Israeli prison.
Israeli troops abducted early on Tuesday ten Palestinian residents from different parts of the West Bank and in the internationally-recognized occupied East Jerusalem.
The Ramallah-based Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said in a statement that Israeli troops abducted five Palestinian residents from the Ayda refugee camp and the Nahaleen village of the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
The PPS identified those abducted as Shadi Badawna, 35, Ahmad Fannoun, Khaldoun Fannoun, and the two brothers Hassan and Abed Najajra.
In the West Bank city of Hebron, Israeli troops invaded the Beit Kahel neighborhood, broke into residents’ homes and abducted both Moha’th Alqisia, 32, and Oday Alkhateeb, 22.
In the meantime, local sources confirmed that Israeli troops invaded the Arraba village, of the West Bank city of Jenin and abducted an ex-prisoner.
The sources added that an Israeli army special force invaded the village, late on yesterday night and abducted ex-prisoner, Hamza Fayed, from a local garden park.
In the northern neighborhood of Beit Daqu of the occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli police personnel, invaded the neighborhood in large numbers and abducted Mohammad Hamdan, 20, from his residential home, earlier on Tuesday morning.
Israeli naval vessels attacked early on Tuesday morning a number of Palestinian fishing boats, off the coast of Gaza, while Israeli tanks rolled into the eastern parts of the coastal enclave.
Local Palestinian media sources in Gaza said on Tuesday that fishing boats, sailing off the coast of northern Gaza, were exposed to indiscriminate Israeli navy fire.
The sources added that the Israeli naval vessels forced few fishing boats, carrying several fishermen, to leave the shores immediately, shortly after they began their daily routine of earning a living, just three nautical miles, inside the northern sea area of Alsudaniya.
This new fresh attack by Israeli naval vessels is a part of a long series of Israeli navy attacks on fishermen, since Israel has imposed a marine siege on the coastal enclave, back in 2007. By then, Israel began restricting fishing into only 3 9 nautical miles, along the Gaza’s 45-km-long coast.
In the meantime, local sources and witnesses said today that Israeli army tanks and bulldozers invaded few tens of meters depth, into the eastern parts of the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, mainly in the Abbasan village.
The sources added that Israeli bulldozers, backed by tanks, began bulldozing in Palestinian-owned farm lands , amidst heavy indiscriminate army fire.
Also, witnesses in Alburaij refugee camp, in central Gaza Strip, confirmed that a number of Israeli army tanks, invaded the border area of Alburaij, rolling tens of meters, deep into Palestinian-owned farm lands. No further details were reported.
Israeli troops attacks on the Gaza Strip’s lands and shores have been frequently reported over the past several years, as Israel has been enforcing a land, sea and air siege on the 2-million residents Gaza Strip, since 2007.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
As part of the measures to contain the pandemic, the de facto authorities announced the full closure of the two passenger crossings, from 23 May till the end of June; however, limited movement through the Erez crossing with Israel, continued in both directions.
Exit of people through the Erez crossing has been also disrupted following the suspension of coordination between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel, while movement of goods through the Kerem Shalom crossing remained unchanged.
A week-long heat wave triggered power cuts of 12 hours per day, up from nine hours during the rest of the month.
The unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2020 stood at 46 per cent, the same as during the equivalent period in 2019; the figure only partially captures the impact of the COVID-19 measures, imposed since March.
Protection of Civilians and Casualties
One rocket was allegedly fired from Gaza towards Israel, after which Israeli forces shelled military sites in Gaza; no injuries were reported.
On at least 88 occasions, Israeli forces opened fire near its perimeter fence around Gaza and off the coast, presumably to restrict Palestinian access to these areas; four fishermen were injured.
On four occasions, Israeli bulldozers entered Gaza and carried out land levelling near the perimeter fence.
233 exits of permit holders were recorded via the Erez crossing during May, nearly the same as in April; since the outbreak of COVID-19 and the ensuing restrictions on movement, only urgent cases have been allowed out via the crossing.
About 550 people returned to Gaza via Erez, 45 per cent more than in April; all returning people have been sent to a mandatory quarantine for 21 days.
In response to Israel intention to annex parts of the West Bank, the PA is no longer receiving applications for exit permits from Gaza, except for cases where this could save lives; some patients’ applications have been forwarded to the Israeli authorities by human rights organizations.
1,168 people entered Gaza from Egypt during a three-day re-opening of the Rafah crossing between 12 and 14 May; no exits were recorded since 11 March.
7,667 truckloads of goods entered Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel, 12 per cent more than in April, and another 432 entered through the Rafah Crossing with Egypt, 20 per cent less than in April.
Some 280 truckloads carrying mostly agricultural produce exited Gaza to the West Bank (77 per cent), Israel (13 per cent) and markets abroad (10 per cent), a slight increase compared with April.
Services, Livelihoods and Shelter160 exit permit applications by patients referred to hospitals in the West Bank, mostly in East Jerusalem, were submitted in May, of which two-thirds were approved; the number of applications represents only 10 per cent of the monthly average submitted in the first quarter of 2020.The percentage of essential drugs at zero stock (less than a month supply) stood at 43 per cent, the same as during April 2020.The pollution level of the wastewater discharged into the sea increased by 24 per cent compared with April, due to repair works underway at Gaza city’s sewage treatment facility. Seawater samples taken this month showed that about 77 per cent of the total seashore are highly polluted.
Ramallah (QNN)- A human rights watchdog based in Ramallah expressed concern over the spread of Covid-19 virus among Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, especially with the sharp rise of cases in Palestine.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Association expressed its concern that the virus could be spreading among Palestinian prisoners amid the Israeli continuous daily arrests policy inspite of the sharp rise in Covid-19 cases.
The statement revealed that the total number of Palestinians, who have been arrested since the start of the pandemic in March, is estimated at 900 prisoners, including patients, wounded prisoners, children, and women.
The statement expressed its concerns over the continuous negligence of local and international calls to release Palestinian prisoners, especially patients, women, and children.
It added that the Israeli measures to prevent the spread of the virus have been only limited to preventing visitation and access to cleaning supplies, which even worsened the condition of the prisoners.
The watchdog called on international organizations, especially the Red Cross, to have a more effective role to save the lives of Palestinian prisoners and helping their families.
‘Israel’ holds nearly 4600 Palestinian prisoners, including 41 women, 170 children, and 30 under administrative detention.
Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- The Israeli army on Tuesday raided the Issawiyyeh neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem to remove posters of the martyr Muhammad Sameer Obeid from the walls of the neighborhood.
Marking his first anniversary, posters of Obeid, who was murdered by the Israeli army last year, were posted by locals on the walls and stores of the neighborhood.
Locals had established several monuments for the martyr, while Israeli soldiers destroyed them, sparking confrontations in the neighborhood.
Muhammad Sameer Obeid (20 years old) was killed by the Israeli army last year during confrontations that followed a peaceful protest by the residents of the neighborhood against the brutality and collective punishment policy of the Israeli forces.
Occupied Palestine (QNN)- The Israeli army on the dawn of Tuesday arrested nine Palestinian citizens after raiding their houses in the occupied West Bank.
The Israeli army arrested Udai Khatib (22 years old) from the village of Beit Kaher in Hebron, Muath Qaisiyyeh (32 years old) from the village of Thahiriyyeh, reported Wafa.
It also arrested Ahmad Ra’fat Badawi (18 years old), Ahmad Adawi (27 years old), and Ahmad Imad Badawi (14 years old).
In Bethlehem, the Israeli army arrested Ahmad Fannoun, Khaldoun Fannoun, and Shadi Badawneh after breaking into their houses. The Israelis also rearrested Mahmoud Mardawi from the village of Arrabah in Jenin.
Washington (QNN)- Progressive Democrats have signed a strong-worded letter against the Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank, calling for using a “combination of pressure and incentives” to prevent it, including imposing conditions on American military aid to the occupation state.
The letter, led by prominent left-wing congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, was met with immediate rejection by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Monday.
The pro-Israel group attacked the letter claiming it “threatens the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that would damage American interests, risk the security of Israel & make a two-state solution less likely”, setting the stage for a confrontation between progressive Democrats and pro-Israel groups in Washington.
AIPAC opposes the letter being circulated by @RepAOC—cosigned by @RepJayapal, @RepRashida & @BettyMcCollum04—which explicitly threatens the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that would damage American interests, risk the security of Israel & make a two-state solution less likely.
The letter was first published in the Jewish Insider, which said congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, Pramila Jayapal and Betty McCollum were among the signatories. The Middle East Eye reported that multiple Democrats beyond the four congresswomen have signed the letter, including Senator Bernie Sanders, who proposed conditioning aid to Israel during his presidential campaign.
Addressing the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the letter stated that the Israeli annexation plans “would actively harm prospects for a future in which all Israelis and Palestinians can live with full equality, human rights and dignity.”
It added that the annexation plans would deny the Palestinian people their basic human rights and allow the occupation state to continue its illegal measures, stressing the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and the illegality of annexation.
“Should the Israeli government move forward with the planned annexation with this administration’s acquiescence, we will work to ensure non-recognition as well as pursue conditions on the $3.8 billion in U.S. military funding to Israel, including human rights conditions and withholding funds for the off-shore procurement of Israeli weapons equal to or exceeding the amount the Israeli government spends annually to fund settlements, as well as the policies and practices that sustain and enable them”, the letter stated.
The letter has been circulated a few days ahead of a 1 July deadline that the Israeli government has set for starting the process of claiming sovereignty over areas in the occupied West Bank – declaring them parts of ‘Israel’.
The Israeli annexation plans come as an implementation of Trump’s ‘peace’ plan, which allows ‘Israel’ to impose its sovereignty over the West Bank and the Jordan Valley while giving thousands of native Palestinians separated parts of the West Bank, which have been described as Bantustans, controlled by the Israeli army.
Netanyahu announced that the occupation state will never allow the Palestinian people to have an independent state and also will not give them Israeli citizenship.
The Trump administration’s Middle East team met last week and said they were on the verge of making an announcement about annexation, but they still haven’t officially made a decision. Yesterday, Axios’s Barak Ravid reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling on U.S. evangelicals to help him lobby the Trump administration on the issue.
Read the *full text of the draft letter below:
The Honorable Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Pompeo:
We write to you to express our deep concern over the planned annexation of occupied Palestinian territory by the government of Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said annexation could begin as early as July 1, 2020. Should the Israeli government move forward with these plans, they would actively harm prospects for a future in which all Israelis and Palestinians can live with full equality, human rights and dignity, and would lay the groundwork for Israel becoming an apartheid state, as your predecessor John Kerry warned in 2014. We call on you to take all necessary action available to reverse course on this proposal, which will deeply harm U.S. relations with Israel and Palestinians for decades to come. While the full scope and the details of the plan are not yet public, Palestinians have overwhelmingly rejected the idea of annexation and were not at the table for discussions leading to this point, having understandably refused to participate in a process that is not grounded in a recognition of their national rights under international law.
Leading human rights experts warn that annexing parts of the West Bank will perpetuate and entrench human rights violations against Palestinians including limitations on freedom of movement, mass expropriation of privately-owned Palestinian land, further expansion of illegal settlements, continued demolitions of Palestinian homes, and a loss of Palestinian control over their natural resources. Furthermore, Israel has stated it will not grant citizenship to Palestinians living in annexed territory, paving the path toward an apartheid system. Indeed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967 has stated that it would “crystalize a 21st century apartheid, leaving in its wake the demise of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination.”
Of further concern, the Israeli government’s stated intention to annex the West Bank is a clear violation of international law. Annexation is prohibited by Article 2(4) of the UN Charter and is a prohibited act of aggression under Article 47 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, of which Israel is a party. Forty-seven of the independent Special Procedures mandates appointed by the Human Rights Council at the United Nations reaffirm this. Further, already existing Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, amount to a war crime under Article 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court because Israel, as the Occupying Power, is prohibited from transferring, either directly or indirectly, parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.
Annexation is notably prohibited because it incites armed conflict, political and economic instability, systematic human rights abuses, and, most importantly, legitimizes the erasure of identity. The situation is no different here, nor has it been. Acre by acre de facto annexation since 1967 for the purpose of new Israeli settlements is a blatant attempt to suppress Palestinian identity and nationhood.
The U.S. should work to build a future in which all Palestinians and Israelis live under full equality by upholding a foreign policy that centers human rights and dignity for all people. We therefore call on you to use a combination of pressure and incentives to stop Israel’s plans to illegally annex the West Bank, which would ensure a worsening of the situation for all Palestinians and Israelis.
Unilateral annexation in the West Bank would alienate U.S. lawmakers and citizens. We cannot support an undemocratic system in which Israel would permanently rule over a Palestinian people denied self-determination or equal rights. Should the Israeli government move forward with the planned annexation with this administration’s acquiescence, we will work to ensure non-recognition as well as pursue conditions on the $3.8 billion in U.S. military funding to Israel, including human rights conditions and withholding funds for the off-shore procurement of Israeli weapons equal to or exceeding the amount the Israeli government spends annually to fund settlements, as well as the policies and practices that sustain and enable them.
We must remain committed to a future in which all Israelis and Palestinians live with full rights, dignity, and democracy. This means ensuring that we do not support or engage in any acts that actively harm Israelis and Palestinians, or this future.