Is ICC about to slam the door on justice for Palestine?

A Palestinian man walks across the rubble of his home destroyed during Israel’s 51-day bombardment of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014, al-Shujaiyeh, Gaza City

Maureen Clare Murphy reports in The Electronic Intifida:

In the decade since Palestinians first petitioned the International Criminal Court, around 3,500 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Around 800 were children.

Israel has expanded its settlement colonies in the West Bank, encouraged by a Trump administration that has put Washington’s seal of approval on war crimes only tacitly endorsed by previous US governments.

That tacit support has been more than symbolic.

Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, signed a $38 billion military aid pact with Israel – the “single largest pledge of bilateral military assistance in US history” by the State Department’s admission.

All that to secure Israel’s military occupation, now in its sixth decade, and the violent oppression that it requires.

The Gaza Strip has remained under a cruel and illegal siege of collective punishment, all but destroying the economy and plunging the territory’s population of two million into poverty and unprecedented despair.

In 2014, Israel subjected Gaza to a 51-day military assault, during which nearly 150 families lost three or more members in a single Israeli strike as Israel targeted homes, schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure.

Two years later, B’Tselem, Israel’s leading human rights organization, declared that it would no longer cooperate with the Israeli military’s sham system of self-investigation, stating that it only serves as a fig leaf for the occupation.

The UN Human Rights Council tasked several independent commissions of inquiry to investigate Israeli crimes in Gaza. They published their reports, but their calls for accountability were ignored or undermined by those in a position to challenge Israeli impunity.

The international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which seeks to pressure Israel into respecting Palestinian rights, has been put in the crosshairs of Israel’s strategic affairs ministry.

Palestinian leaders of that popular movement have been punished and threatened, while international BDS supporters are criminalized and smeared.

The preliminary examination of the situation in Palestine by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has provided a glimmer of hope in this otherwise bleak landscape.

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