IDF soldiers at Damascus Gate in east Jerusalem [Illustrative].
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Senior Fatah official Muhammad Shtayyeh called for Israeli soldiers with dual nationality to be prosecuted for war crimes.
“Israeli soldiers with dual citizenship who participate in the aggression on Gaza make it so their countries participated in some way in the aggression against Palestine,” he said in a forum at the Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron, according to a report by the Middle East Monitor website on Wednesday.
Shtayyeh said that these soldiers should have their non-Israeli nationalities revoked.
The Palestinian politician reported that there were around 5,000 Israeli soldiers with dual nationality, approximately 1,000 of whom have American citizenship.
Shtayyeh said that “the Palestinian leadership is considering placing Palestine under international trusteeship to provide international protection for the Palestinian people.”
He added that “the Palestinian leadership has taken the necessary steps to sign the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”
In 2012, the world’s permanent war crimes court in The Hague declined to investigate allegations against the IDF in 2008-2009’s Operation Cast Lead, citing the uncertain legal status of the Palestinian Authority.
Nabil Shaath, an adviser to Abbas, said the decision to join the ICC had already been made and would be carried out in “days or weeks” as they do not want it to get in the way of ongoing cease-fire negotiations in Cairo, the British newspaper The Independent reported on Monday.
The legal groundwork for such a move was laid in November 2012 when the 193-member UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereignty of a Palestinian state by upgrading the Palestinian Authority’s observer status from “entity” to “non-member state.”
If the Palestinians were to seek to sign the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, the court would likely have jurisdiction over crimes committed in the Palestinian territories.
“If Palestine applies, it will be admitted to the ICC,” said John Dugard, international law professor and a former UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian territories.
One Israeli official, said the government planned a defense of the Gaza operation and could pursue counter-claims against the Abbas administration if the ICC launched a case.
“We are talking about terrorism involving officials, security personnel and others, from his administration and emanating from areas under his control,” the official said.Reuters contributed to this report.