GA A KA CITY AK, Gaza Strip. – The father of a Palestinian boy killed in an Israeli rocket attack in 2014 on Saturday expressed new hope for justice after the International Criminal Court opened the way for a possible war crimes investigation into Israeli hostilities.
The court ruled on Friday that its jurisdiction extended to Israeli-occupied territories in the Middle East in 1967, including the Gaza Strip, where Subhi Bakr’s 10-year-old son, Muhammad և, and his three cousins were killed while playing football on the beach.
“Better than ever,” Bakr said on Saturday as he walked to the beach where the boys were killed in a 2014 clash between Israeli and Gaza rulers, the Islamic militant group Hamas. During the war.
The ICC decision opened the door to a possible war crimes investigation into Israeli hostilities during the war and the Israeli settlement war. Hamas could also be investigated for firing rockets at Israeli civilian areas.
The Prosecutor General of the International Court of Justice, Fatou Bensouda, has not yet launched a formal investigation. In 2019, Bensuda said there was a “reasonable basis” for launching a war crimes investigation, but he asked the court to determine whether he had territorial jurisdiction before the case could be opened. It came after a five-year preliminary investigation into whether war crimes were committed during the 2014 fighting.
Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, welcomed the ICC’s conclusion, calling it a “significant step” in the administration of justice for the Palestinian people. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasim called on the court to “take practical measures on the ground” to hold Israel accountable for its crimes.
Hamas declined to comment on the possibility that it could be further investigated.
Bakr, the grieving father, is looking forward to the speedy court action.
“The most important thing for the investigation is to start. “If it did not happen, then there is no justice in the world,” he said.
The story of the Bakr cousins, all of whom were 10-11 years old, has caught the world’s attention as many foreign journalists have witnessed 2014 from their beach hotels. The images showed the children running away from the pool in despair when the rocket landed, and then the boys fell to the ground one after another.
A year later, Israel acquitted itself and closed the military investigation without further action, calling the deaths a “tragic accident.” It added that the incident took place in an area controlled by Hamas naval forces.
The closure of the Israeli investigation forced the Bakr family to seek justice from a higher body. The family members testified to the ICRC team during a preliminary investigation conducted by the prosecutor’s office from 2014 to 2019. They testified in consultation with the Hague-based team.
Israel “can not be a judge-executioner, I do not trust them. “We need international law for justice to work for us.”
Despite criticism that Israel’s investigation into illegal actions by its troops is insufficient, experts say the country has a good chance of avoiding a UN war investigation.
As for the settlements, experts say that Israel can defend its actions in difficult moments. International law prohibits the relocation of civilians to occupied territories.
In the 1967 war, Israel, along with Gaza, occupied the West Bank, east of Jerusalem. The Palestinians are looking for these territories for a future state. About 700,000 Israelis live in settlements east of the Jordan River east of Jerusalem. Palestinians և Most of the international community considers settlements illegal ոտ an obstacle to peace.
On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the court ruling as a “distortion of justice” and vowed to fight it.
The United States, Israel’s closest ally, also said it was opposed to the decision.
Washington strongly opposed the Palestinians’ request to join the tribunal in 2015, as it does not consider the Palestinians a sovereign state and is not subject to the jurisdiction of the tribunal.
Palestinian expert Gamil Sarhan, head of the Gaza office of the Independent Human Rights Commission, was cautious about the ICC decision.
“Let’s wait for the investigation to begin և its results,” he wrote on Facebook, “because for us the negative results may come in time, և we may not achieve what we are striving for.”