Palestinian FM slams ICC for delaying probe of Israel

            By Abdullah Asiran</p>  <p>HAGUE, Netherlands (AA) – Palestine’s foreign minister criticized the International Criminal Court (ICC) Wednesday for its tardiness in investigating Israel for possible war crimes against Palestinians. </p>  <p>Speaking at the opening of the 17th session of the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC in The Hague, the Netherlands, Riyad al-Maliki noted that the ICC had launched a preliminary investigation into possible Israeli war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories but said that continuing to delay the probe will harm its credibility.</p>  <p>“How many Palestinian homes will be demolished, families displaced, Palestinians tortured and children killed by the Israeli occupiers before the ICC launches a probe against them?” al-Maliki said. </p>  <p>He drew attention to the ICC’s failure to prosecute senior Israeli officials despite four years passing since its preliminary inquiry.</p>  <p>“Palestinian victims have been waiting long enough for justice,” al-Maliki said.</p>  <p>“Any delay in the investigation is a delay in bringing justice and gives the occupying power impunity and more time to commit its daily crimes,” he told ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.</p>  <p> In December 2014, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed the Rome convention and appendixes related to the ICC, which accepted a request by Palestine to become a member in April 2015. </p>  <p>For the last nine months, Palestinians in Gaza have been staging regular demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone to demand the right to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948.</p>  <p>They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.</p>  <p>Since the rallies began on March 30, more than 210 Palestinians have been martyred and thousands more injured by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the buffer zone.