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End occupation or face ICC: Palestine to ask UN set 'timetable' for Israeli withdrawal

Published time: August 28, 2014 12:56
Edited time: August 28, 2014 14:20
A Palestinian boy collects copies of the Koran from the remains of a mosque, which witnesses said was hit by an Israeli air strike, in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip August 25, 2014. (Reuters / Mohammed Salem)

A Palestinian boy collects copies of the Koran from the remains of a mosque, which witnesses said was hit by an Israeli air strike, in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip August 25, 2014. (Reuters / Mohammed Salem)

Palestine will ask the UN Security Council to set a “timetable” for Israel's withdrawal from the occupied territories, a senior official said. If the request is denied, Palestine will take senior Israeli officials to the ICC over the killing of thousands.

The Palestinian leadership is going to submit the application to the UN Security Council on September 15, Ma'an News Agency reported, citing senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath.

The document will demand a "timetable" for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories.

In addition there will be a meeting of the Arab League on September 5 ahead of sending the application to the UN, to discuss how to support the proposal.

If Palestine’s initiative is denied at the UN, it is going to take senior Israeli officials such as Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, over Israel’s assault on Gaza, which left over 2,000 Palestinians dead.

The ICC is an international tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. It is an independent organization, and is not part of the UN system.

"Taking the case to the ICC is conditional upon the Security Council response to our request," Shaath said.

Palestinians drink coffee outside a damaged house as they look at the remains of a tower building housing offices, which witnesses said was destroyed by an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City August 26, 2014.(Reuters / Mohammed Salem)

Palestinian authorities will also form a permanent unity government with Hamas to ease the reconstruction of Gaza Strip, he said.

Israel accepted the long-term truce without the demilitarization of Hamas following pressure from the US, Shaath is cited as saying, adding that Israeli authorities were afraid of losing their allies, due to the ongoing unrest in the region.

On Monday, after Israel and Palestine agreed on the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Wasel Abu Yousef told AFP that the Palestinian leadership is preparing “to go to the UN Security Council to enforce an end to the [Israeli] occupation.”

Abu Yousef said that their application to the UN Security Council would likely be vetoed by the US, which usually opposed any anti-Israeli step.

“If the US uses a veto, then we still have the ICC card,” he added.

Monday’s ceasefire marked the 50th day since Israel started its campaign in Gaza on July 8. The death toll from the Gaza conflict has reached 2,120 people, of which 577 are children, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

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