Israeli farmers travel to Hague, file war crimes complaint against Hamas - Kogonuso


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Sep 3, 2018

Israeli farmers travel to Hague, file war crimes complaint against Hamas

“Israeli farmers have endured thousands of destructive arson attacks and rocket fire from Gaza, while the world stood by in silence," said Shurat Hadin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner.

A group of Israeli farmers traveled to The Hague on Monday and filed a war crimes complaint with the International Criminal Court (“ICC&rdquo against top Hamas officials for what they called fire kite terror during the Gaza border crisis.

The complaint was drafted by Shurat Hadin – Israel Law Center and co-signed along with the farmers by a much larger group of 50,000 concerned individuals worldwide to try to turn the tables on the Israel-critics who have accused the IDF of war crimes for shooting around 170 Palestinians during the crisis.They called on the ICC prosecutors to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Hamas leaders Khaled Mashal, Saleh Arouri, and Zaher Jabarin.

More specifically, they requested a probe of their alleged orders to use fire kites and other terror to breach Israel’s border and murder civilians as well as torching thousands of acres of agricultural fields.

Along with the complaint, the group protested on Monday outside the ICC’s office with farm tractors used to extinguish their burning fields and will display an exhibition of blow up photos of their fields destroyed by the kites.Shurat Hadin wrote that since the Gaza border conflict, fire kites and other violence from Gaza that started on March 30, Israeli farmers have suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses from the residential property, farmland and crops targeted and destroyed by Hamas.

The NGO wrote that, “These farmers and their families have endured the daily barrage of incendiary devices launched from Gaza, as well as the trauma of the incessant attempts to invade Israeli communities and murder civilian men, women and children in their homes.”

Alleging that Mashal, Arouri and Jabarin and Hamas’s military wing directed the terror campaign, Shurat Hadin said that an ICC probe would find “blatant violation of the Rome Statute (Articles 8 (2) (c) (viii) and 28), which prohibits the murder of non-combatants, the destruction of civilian property for unlawful purposes, and the use of civilians as human shields.”

It quoted a Hamas-affiliated group as saying: “Allah willing, (the incendiary devices) will light up and burn fields and houses (they will get to a place where it will burn a large area.”

Moreover, the complaint said that, “Hamas transported civilians to the border for the purpose of burning 10,000 tires and throwing gasoline bombs as well as openly issued propaganda videos advising civilians that the purpose of burning tires was to mask the movements of its armed militants, who had been directed to murder Israeli civilians.”

Traditionally, crimes against humanity has been thought of as mass murder. But the ICC Prosecution has also declared that in certain circumstances destroying property can be a crime against humanity, such as regarding Mali.

The complaint also details several individual incidents in which armed Hamas combatants, sometimes with explosives, breached or tried to breach the border and set fire to fields or sought to attack civilian villages.

Israeli experts have argued that attempts to purposely target civilians, whether with rockets or other weapons, can be war crimes.

According to the complaint, Mashal, Arouri and Jabarin “face command liability for the criminal actions of Hamas because they, along with other persons not within the jurisdiction of the court, exercise effective control and responsibility over them.”

The three specific Hamas leaders were also named because each of them has Jordanian citizenship and Jordan is a member of the ICC.

In contrast, Hamas leaders who are not Jordanian citizens are not listed in the complaint as Shurat Hadin supports Israel’s legal position that there is no “State of Palestine” – meaning neither Israelis nor Palestinians (without additional relevant citizenships) can be investigated by the ICC.

Despite this position, the ICC Prosecution recognized Palestine in January 2015 and has been probing the 2014 Gaza war, the settlement enterprise and ongoing violence between Israel and the Palestinians since then.

According to Shurat Hadin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, “For many months, Israeli farmers have endured thousands of destructive arson attacks and rocket fire from Gaza, while the world stood by in silence.”

“Amazingly, Hamas which has orchestrated this campaign of terror...accuses Israel and the IDF of utilizing excessive force. We are demanding the ICC put an end to this hypocrisy and diligently investigate these Palestinian war crimes. The Rome Statute, which the Palestinians so cynically signed, cannot serve as a one-sided shield for Hamas’ murderous terrorism,” she added.

Besides the fire kites, Shurat Hadin said that since May, Hamas and other Gazans have fired 250 rockets or mortars into Israel targeting civilians.

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