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Ref: 09/2017

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Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), confirmed delivering 6 legal submissions to the International Criminal Court (ICC), and addressing them 7 times regarding Israeli war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

On Thursday, 15 March 2017, PCHR organized a meeting that was held in Khan Yunis branch. The meeting was attended by several national figures and journalists. It addressed the human rights situation in the oPt and the efforts to prosecute the Israeli war criminals in the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation and the closure imposed on the Gaza strip for 10 years.

During the meeting, Sourani said that he hopes that the ICC’s decision to accept the cases of the Palestinian victims will be in the period from June to the end of this year. Sourani emphasized that the issued submissions are related to the Israeli offensive, the imposed closure on the Gaza Strip and the settlement activities. Moreover, Sourani stressed the need to proceed this technique in order to prosecute the Israeli criminals.

Sourani said that the  ICC, which began its primary investigation a year and a half ago that was supposed to lead to prosecution before the court, considers it impossible to reach justice before the Israeli judiciary, which has proved to be involved in the Israeli was crimes.

Furthermore, Sourani stressed that it is forbidden to lose the legal battle of prosecuting the Israeli war criminals. He pointed out that there is an expanded work crew of Palestinians along with 14 international figures of the best legal minds, who work on this file believing in the justice of the Palestinian cause. Sourani emphasized that this battle is one of the serious battles facing Israel in the next stage. He stressed that this battle is not at the expense of the resistance or the economic and social aspect, rather, it is complementary to them.

Al-Sourani pointed out that the situation in the oPt is difficult, cruel and complex. He added that after the 50 years of the Israeli occupation, Palestinians only care about their daily sufferings not ending the occupation. Al-Sourani also displayed the suffering in the Gaza Strip under the Israeli closure imposed for 10 years. This closure affected civilians and goods’ movement, making it the worst closure in the world, particularly after subjecting to 3 wars resulted in massive destruction. As a result, around 2 million people in the Gaza Strip live a reality lacks the most basic necessities of life.

Moreover, al-Sourani also said that the situation in the Jerusalem and the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem is not better than the one in the Gaza Strip, pointing out that Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem are exposed to ethnic cleansing as the city is surrounded with 7 Israeli settlements.

Al-Sourani added that around 80-85% of the West Bank undergo to the Israeli control while the rest are not. Furthermore, he clarified that the statements of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, during his meeting with the US President, Donald Trump, illustrating the Israeli occupation intends to join the West Bank.

He also stressed that displaying the difficult situation of the Gaza Strip is not to bring frustration, but to be aware of the current situation. At the end, we have fair and legitimate cause which deserves the pervious and coming sacrifices.

Abdel Haleem Abu Samra, public relations officer of the PCHR branch in Khan Yunis, opened the meeting with welcoming the participants, who were grateful for the invitation. The participants stressed the importance of the legal battle against the Israeli occupation. They also called for mobilizing Palestinians in order to support and achieve this battle.