Turkey welcomes ICC ruling paving way for new Gaza conflict probe

Turkey welcomes ICC ruling paving way for new Gaza conflict probe

Turkey welcomes ICC ruling paving way for new Gaza conflict probe

Turkey on Feb. 6 welcomed the ruling of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that it has jurisdiction over the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, which has been under Israeli occupation since 1967.

“This decision of the ICC is a meaningful step towards holding Israel accountable for its crimes in the Palestinian territories and identifying those who are responsible for these crimes,” the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement.

The ICC decision will also contribute to the implementation of the Resolution on the Protection of the Palestinian Civilian Population, which was adopted at the U.N. General Assembly, under the leadership of Turkey during its Summit Presidency of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the ministry noted.

“The support of the international community to this decision is of great importance to establish deterrence against Israel’s excessive and disproportionate use of force against the Palestinian people,” said the statement.

On Feb. 5, the ICC ruled it had jurisdiction over the situation in territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank.

The ICC ruling that it has jurisdiction over the situation in the Palestinian territories opens the way to it investigating alleged war crimes committed in the 2014 Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza.

The 50-day war, which devastated the coastal enclave and left 2,251 dead on the Palestinian side, mostly civilians, and 74 on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers, has already been the subject of a five-year preliminary ICC probe and a string of critical reports.

In January 2015, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda launched a preliminary examination into whether there was sufficient evidence to warrant opening war crimes investigations into the conflict. The examination involved both Israeli and Palestinian actions.

In December 2019, the prosecutor said she wanted to open a full investigation, having been “satisfied that war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip,” without specifying the perpetrators of the alleged crimes.

Ankara Crisis and Political Studies Center (ANKASAM) Chair Prof. Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin Erol said that the ICC decision constitutes a registration towards a two-state solution.

Speaking to daily Milliyet, he noted that the decision could be evaluated as an important decision for the will of the Palestinian people, their sovereignty and the future of Jerusalem. He emphasized that the decision is a development in parallel with the “two-state solution” thesis of the new U.S. administration headed by President Joe Biden. Erol recalled that the Biden administration wants to normalize ties with the Arab-Islamic world, which puts the Palestine case at the heart of their agenda.

The ICC’s ruling envisages that the court’s decisions also bind Israel and will be applied to the occupied territories, Middle East Strategic Studies Center (ORSAM) President Prof. Dr. Ahmet Uysal told the daily. “Thus, the issue that Israel will not be able to settle and annex as it wishes has been reaffirmed,” he said.