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ICC Chief Prosecutor: We must show that the law protects all

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ICC Chief Prosecutor: We must show that the law protects all



International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan on Sunday issued a statement on the conclusion of his first visit to Israel and the West Bank over the weekend, attempting to project his authority as encompassing both alleged illegal actions by Israel and the Palestinians.

Khan, who arrived Thursday on an unofficial and unannounced visit, said, “I have just concluded my first visit to Israel and the State of Palestine. During this mission, I had a simple message: my Office is here to ensure that the protection of the law is felt by all.”

He said he was “grateful for the warmth and openness shown by all those I met with during this visit. The clarity, compassion and courage that victims, in particular, in both Israel and Palestine, demonstrated in explaining their experiences were deeply impactful.  While not investigative in nature, this mission allowed me to listen to their accounts and deepen my understanding of what they experienced.”

Khan explained that his “visit to Israel was conducted at the request of family members and friends of Israeli citizens who were either killed or taken hostage by Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups on 7 October 2023.”  

Next, he said that during his visits to both Kibbutz Be’eri and Kibbutz Kfar Azza, as well as at the site of the Nova Music Festival in Re’im, “I witnessed scenes of calculated cruelty. The attacks against innocent Israeli civilians on 7 October represent some of the most serious international crimes that shock the conscience of humanity, crimes which the ICC was established to address.”

KARIM KHAN, new ICC prosecutor. (credit: MICHAEL KOOREN / REUTERS)

Reaching out to Israel to sidestep Israeli legal concerns, he said, “I also stand ready to engage with relevant national authorities in line with the principle of complementarity at the heart of the Rome Statute. Such engagement, like my visit, would be without prejudice to the position of Israel on jurisdiction, and as a non-State Party to the Rome Statute.”

Further, he stated, “I called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages taken by Hamas and other terror organisations. There can be no justification for the holding of any hostages, and in particular the egregious breach of fundamental principles of humanity through the taking and continued holding of children. Hostages cannot be treated as human shields or bargaining chips.”

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During his visit to Ramallah, he noted that he met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayeh, and Minister of Justice Mohammad Shalaldeh.  

“I underlined to them that it was of real significance to me that this represented the first official visit by an ICC Prosecutor to the State of Palestine…Our discussions were highly productive as we look to further deepen our cooperation under the Rome Statute,” he said.

Moreover, he said that he spoke “with the families of Palestinian victims. I was grateful to hear such personal accounts of their experiences in Gaza and the West Bank. We must never become numb to such suffering.”

In relation to Gaza, he tried to walk a tightrope, saying, “notwithstanding any ongoing violations of international humanitarian law by Hamas and other armed groups in the Gaza Strip, the manner in which Israel responds to these attacks is subject to clear legal parameters that govern armed conflict. Conflict in densely populated areas where fighters are alleged to be unlawfully embedded in the civilian population is inherently complex, but international humanitarian [law] must still apply and the Israeli military knows the law that must be applied.”

Khan also said, “Israel has trained lawyers who advise commanders and a robust system intended to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law. Credible allegations of crimes during the current conflict should be the subject of timely, independent examination and investigation. On this visit, I again stressed that the clear legal principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality must be complied with so that the protection of the law is rendered meaningful for those who need it. I emphasized that not only must the letter of the law be complied with, but also the spirit upheld.”

In addition, he said, “The United Nations, the World Health Organization and the International Committee for the Red Cross and Red Crescent have continued to underline the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. As I have repeatedly emphasised, civilians must have access to basic food, water and desperately needed medical supplies, without further delay, and at pace and at scale.  And when such aid arrives, it must not be diverted or misused by Hamas. I cannot be more clear about this.” 

Regarding settler violence, he stated he has “profound concern with the significant increase in incidents of attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. I stated that no Israeli armed with an extreme ideology and a gun can feel they can act with impunity against Palestinian civilians. In Ramallah, I heard directly from those affected by such attacks.”





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Jewish diaspora expresses concern as Iranian drones launch toward Israel

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Jewish diaspora expresses concern as Iranian drones launch toward Israel



Jewish diaspora organizations expressed concern for Israel and increased their own security preparedness as Iran launched drones against Israel on Saturday night.

The Jewish Federation said it was comforted by IDF statements that the situation was under control and by the statements of support by the United States of America, but was watching “Iran’s launch of an attack on Israel with extreme concern.”

“We are monitoring the situation very closely and join in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Israel.”

Preparing for attacks in the diaspora

The Conference of European Rabbis said that Jewish communities in Europe were raising their level of preparedness, given the history of Iranian proxies attacking Jewish targets on the continent.

A drone is launched during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on October 4, 2023. (credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY)/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

“We are closely monitoring the Iranian attack on Israel and its implications for the security of Jews in the diaspora,” said conference president Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt. ‘We are in contact with all the leaders of the Jewish communities and security officials across the continent. I call on all Jews across Europe to remain vigilant in community institutions and to act responsibly in the public sphere.” 





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Dozens of Palestinians and Jews injured in West Bank altercations

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Dozens of Palestinians and Jews injured in West Bank altercations



The IDF said on Saturday night that dozens of Jews and Palestinians had been injured in altercations in the West Bank following the terrorist murder of 14-year-old shepherd, Binyamin Achimair.

Though he was murdered on Friday, his death was only confirmed Saturday afternoon, with the subsequent violence between Jewish extremists and Palestinians being declared the largest battles in the area not involving IDF forces since February 2023.

In February 2023, dozens or more of extremist Jews burned large swaths of Palestinian property in Huwara in the West Bank, injured a number of Palestinians, and killed at least one Palestinian.

The IDF said it had significantly beefed up its forces in the area to try to maintain order, but it appeared to be on a significant delay from after multiple rounds of attempts by Jewish extremists to take revenge on nearby Palestinians villages, though these extremists did not have any specific information about who might have committed the murder.

After February 2023, the IDF apologized for failing to react fast enough to protect Palestinians and had said it would preemptively beef up to be ready for future potential reactions by Jewish extremists to the killing of Jews in the West Bank by Palestinians.

Binyamin Achimair, Missing 14-year-old boy from Samaria, Police are requesting help in searching, April 12, 2024. (credit: ISRAEL POLICE)

One area attacked by Jewish extremists on Saturday was the Duma village, south of Nablus.

A mix of Israeli, Arab, and US media reported that Jewish extremists also attacked over Friday and Saturday al-Mughayyir, Deir Dibwan, and Beitin, east of Ramallah and the town of Sinjil, northeast of Ramallah.

Violence from both sides

There were also reports of Palestinian counterattacks.

It was unclear which reports involved live fire, which lower grade rock-throwing style violence and how much violence was committed by each side.

Reports did say that dozens of Palestinians’ cars or structures were set on fire by extremist Jews, with some reports of Palestinian deaths.

By Shin Bet statistics, most extremist Jews, though not all, involved in violence come from a specific list of West Bank settlements or outposts.





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Israeli drone shot down by Hezbollah was worth $10 million

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Israeli drone shot down by Hezbollah was worth $10 million



An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was shot down last Saturday by Hezbollah. The UAV was later revealed as an Elbit Systems Hermes 900 Kochav, valued at around $10 million. 

The Hermes 900 is Elbit’s largest drone and has been sold to the Israeli Air Force, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and according to foreign reports, Azerbaijan. The UAV is a relatively large and expensive drone capable of staying in the air for approximately 30 straight hours.

Hermes 900 UAV (credit: ELBIT SYSTEMS)

The IDF’s response to Hezbollah terror

Following the downing of the UAV, the IDF struck targets in Baalbek deep in Lebanon, on the border with Syria. Missiles were fired in the next morning towards the Golan Heights, and in the afternoon towards Kibbutz Manara and Moshav Margaliot.

Proceeding this, about a month and a half ago, the IDF announced that an Israeli Air Force UAV was shot down by Hezbollah in Lebanese territory. In response, the IDF struck targets of the terrorist organization in the Baalbek area in Lebanon for the first time since the Second Lebanon War. Baalbek is approximately 100 km. north of the border and is the northernmost target that the IDF has struck since the beginning of the war.





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