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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Hamas Plans Hague Action Against Israel

Palestinian justice minister says Hamas-led government is drafting petition against Israel over Gaza air strikes; petition to be filed with International Criminal Court at The Hague
Roee Nahmias

The Palestinian Authority is planning to file a petition with The Hague against Israel for "war crimes it committed against the Palestinians," a reference to the latest series of air strikes in Gaza and arrests of Hamas legislators in the West Bank.

The decision to press war crime charges against Israel with the International Criminal Court was announced by Justice Minister Ahmad al-Khalidi in an interview with the London-based daily al-Quds al-Arabi.

"We have taken legal steps to press charges against Israel with the international court of justice," al-Khalidi said.

Al-Khalidi said Israeli air strikes on power and water stations and government buildings in the Gaza Strip violate international law.

The minister warned that if the court fails to stop Israel's aggression against the Palestinians, Hamas will have no choice but to use violence in order to protect the Palestinian people.

"Suing Israel in the international court is a test for international institutions. If they deny the rights of Palestinians, then the international community has to act responsibly when it comes to blocking the legal channels to the Palestinians, forcing them to use violence to defend ourselves and our people," he said.

He stressed that his ministry will provide legal assistance to defend Hamas legislators arrested by Israel, which threatened to put on trial arrested Hamas members.

A statement issued Monday by the Palestinian government said: "What is being done against the Palestinian people and its government amount to war crimes which require the intervention of the United Nations."

(07.04.06, 10:11)

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