The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has slammed Israel’s new land grad plans, urging the International Criminal Court (ICC) to speed up its investigation into the regime’s war crimes, crimes against humanity, and apartheid against the Palestinian nation.
In a statement released on Wednesday, PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat warned against foot-dragging, expressing hopes that ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda would take the case “seriously.”
“It is of utmost urgency for the International Criminal Court to accelerate the process of investigating Israeli crimes, including its settlement enterprise. Further delays will cost more Palestinians lives, land, resources, and more suffering and despair,” he said.
Back in May, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki urged The Hague-based ICC to “open without delay an investigation into all crimes” committed by the Tel Aviv regime in the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds and the Gaza Strip since June 2014.
He submitted a referral to international prosecutors on the back of an initial preliminary investigation which was launched in 2015.
Erekat’s statement came after Israeli authorities advanced plans for almost 2,200 settler units in the occupied West Bank.
The settlement watchdog Peace Now said that 1,159 units were given final approvals by a committee at the Israeli ministry of military affairs before building permits can be issued, while 1,032 others were at an earlier stage.
A committee in the Israeli ministry of military affairs has advanced the plans.
Erekat said that Israel had stolen the Christmas spirit from the Palestinian people by new settlement plans.
“As part of his early election campaign, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has as well stolen more Palestinian land and resources for the benefit of Israel’s illegal colonial settlement expansion,” Erekat added.
He also urged the international community to “act before it is too late” and “fulfill its responsibilities towards the people of Palestine.”
“Such illegal actions are a deliberate campaign to destroy the two-state solution and to prevent the establishment of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital,” he noted.
Emboldened by US President Donald Trump’s all-out support, Israel has in recent months stepped up its settlement construction activities in the occupied lands in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.
About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian lands.