Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa is delighted at yesterday’s decision by the International Criminal Court to begin the process of opening an investigation into Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza strip.
The ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced the decision saying:
I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine, pursuant to article 53(1) of the Statute. In brief, I am satisfied that (i) war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip (“Gaza”) (ii) potential cases arising from the situation would be admissible; and (iii) there are no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve the interests of justice.
This is a long overdue decision but is welcome news. It will begin to hold the Israeli leadership and army personnel to account for the murder and mayhem visited on the Palestinian population for the past 70 years.
We are proud to have a New Zealander, Julie Webb-Pullman, working at the heart of the efforts to gather evidence and help prepare cases, to an exacting international standard, for the court.
Julie is a New Zealand journalist and human rights investigator who has lived in Gaza for the past eight years. She has been working with the Gaza Centre for Human Rights to train local Palestinians in the specialised work of gathering and preparing evidence of war crimes for consideration by the ICC.
So far Julie has been involved in helping file over 2000 specific cases with the ICC. These crimes relate mainly to the 2014 Israeli invasion of the Gaza strip when more than 2000 Palestinian civilians were killed, and the murder of over 200 unarmed Palestinian protestors in the Great March of Return protests over the past 20 months.
We will be calling on the New Zealand government once again to help facilitate Julie’s return to Gaza after Israeli pressure prevented her re-entering last week. Unfortunately, the government refused to assist last week so Julie was forced to return to New Zealand.
She is needed in Gaza now more than ever and we expect New Zealand to help facilitate this against Israeli intransigence.
We are taking this up with the government as a matter of urgency.