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النسخة التجريبية من موقع النهضة العربية (أرض)

ARDD’s panel discusses legal and political ramifications of the ICC decision regarding its territorial jurisdiction over Palestine


On 11 March 2021, The Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) held an online panel discussion on “The ICC decision regarding its territorial jurisdiction over Palestine: Legal and political perspectives”. The discussion is part of Al Nahda Thought Center’s work on “The Question of Palestine”. Dr. Anis Kassim, an international lawyer, former editor-in-chief of “Palestine Yearbook of International Law” and member of the Global Network of Experts on the Question of Palestine, and Dr. Ahmed Al-Ashqar, a Palestinian lawyer, former judge, co-founder and president of the Arab Union of Judges, shared their views. Country Director at the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy Rami Adwan moderated the event.


Ashqar presented an overview of his analysis of the ICC decision, touching on the legal implications of the ICC decision and how the Palestinians could benefit from it. He talked about Palestinian expectations and concerns, Israeli efforts to oppose the ICC proceedings, and came up with recommendations for the steps to follow. He also raised concerns about the occupying state’s attempts to exploit the ICC’s jurisdiction and use it against Palestinians, emphasizing the need for strong cooperation between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the de facto authority in Gaza. He stressed that it is important for the PA to lend its support and cooperate with Palestinian rights groups and NGOs that are engaged in legal advocacy for Israel to be held accountable for its acts before the ICC.


Kassim emphasized the importance of focusing the Palestinian efforts on the settlement file, which presents a clear case for the Palestinians vis-à-vis the Israeli government, which was primarily and directly involved in the settlement enterprise through funding and planting settlements and transferring settlers. He said that the Israeli Nation-State Law, issued in 2018, further institutionalizes discrimination against the Palestinians and further establishes Israel as an apartheid regime, and called on the PA to file a lawsuit against the Israeli occupation in this regard. He added that Israel’s continued prevention of Palestinian refugees from returning to their homes should be part of the ICC investigation, noting that the only reason Palestinian refugees have not been able to return to their homes is the fact that they are not Jewish.


Al-Adwan concluded by emphasizing that the ICC decision represents a victory for legitimacy and an entry point to hold the Israeli occupation state accountable for its crimes where political will and diplomacy failed. He said that the lawsuits that can be brought before the International Criminal Court require specialized legal teams, funding, and close follow-up. The participants urged the Palestinian authorities to support Palestinian organizations’ efforts to bring Israeli war criminals to international courts, and not to use the opportunity offered by the ICC investigation as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the Israeli occupation. They stressed that these organizations are ready and committed to offering full support in this important legal battle. ARDD will continue its efforts, and work with these institutions and enhance regional cooperation in this regard.