Freedom Flotilla Sets Sail to Challenge Israel's Blockade of Gaza

Freedom Flotilla Sets Sail to Challenge Israel's Blockade of Gaza

"Palestinians have raised their voices in peaceful demand of their basic human rights and an end to the closure and blockade of Gaza that maintains their dire living conditions; Israel responded by deploying snipers to fire onto unarmed protesters", said Younis.

A statement from the Israeli Foreign Ministry called Tuesday's request "absurd", accusing the Palestinians of incitement and exploiting civilians as "human shields".

Still, Malki insisted that going to the ICC could become a building block for peace.

"T$3 he ICC lacks jurisdiction over the Israeli-Palestinian issue, since Israel is not a member of the court and because the Palestinian Authority is not a state", it said in a statement.

"This referral is Palestine's test to the worldwide mechanism of accountability and respect for global law".

In regards to the referral, Alex Whiting, a former ICC official, said that a state referral makes it "much harder" for the Office of the Prosecutor "to stay in the preliminary examination phase for years".

According to reports, the referral seeks an investigation into Israeli policies in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

The display of animous towards the delegation came exactly one week after the Trump administration officially moved the USA embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem-a move seen as a direct assault on the so-called "peace process" and the demand that East Jerusalem ultimately become the future capital of an independent Palestinian state.

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Foreign Minister Riad Malki submitted a so-called "referral", which he said detailed evidence of crimes committed on occupied Palestinian territory.

Although Israel is not a member, its citizens can be charged by the court if they are suspected of committing grave crimes on the territory or against a national of a country that is a member.

In a statement on the ICC referral, the Palestinian foreign ministry said Israel's settlement regime was "the single most risky threat to Palestinian lives, livelihoods, and national rights".

The referral also mentions that the state of Palestine accepted ICC's jurisdiction in 2014, asserted the foreign minister.

The ICC has been conducting a preliminary inquiry since 2015 in the Palestinian territories, including Israel's settlement policy and crimes allegedly committed by both sides in the 2014 Gaza conflict. However, the court has not opened a full-blown investigation that could ultimately lead to indictments.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements that are illegal under the worldwide law, which prohibits construction on occupied land.

The IDF also confirmed that a mini-drone from Gaza had crossed over the border fence and fallen in Israeli territory overnight Tuesday.

Israel claims east Jerusalem as an inseparable part of its capital - though its annexation is not worldwide recognized.

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