In an astonishing moment of candor, the Palestinian representative to the UN Human Rights Council — in explaining the high risk of Palestinians being indicted if the International Criminal Court acquires jurisdiction — has admitted that “each and every” Palestinian missile now being launched against Israeli civilian centers constitutes “a crime against humanity”; that, by contrast, Israel’s own response actions in Gaza “followed the legal procedures” because, as Hamas spokespersons admitted on TV, “the Israelis warned them to evacuate their homes before the bombardment; but, however, “as for the missiles launched from our side, we never warn anyone about where these missiles are about to fall or about the operations we carry out.”
The extraordinary admissions by Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi came in a July 9th interview on Palestinnian TV. Below is video and transcript by MEMRI.
Interviewer: The popular demand is to appeal to the International Criminal Court and to sign the Rome Statute. The demand is to do this immediately. To what extent is this realistic? You are our representative in all the international organizations. What can we gain from such a step, and could we ourselves be indicted?
Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi: I am not a candidate in any Palestinian elections, so I don’t need to win popularity among the Palestinians. The missiles that are now being launched against Israel, each and every missile constitutes a crime against humanity, whether it hits or misses, because it is directed at civilian targets. What Israel does against Palestinian civilians also constitutes crimes against humanity. OK?
With regards to war crimes under the Fourth Geneva Convention, the settlements, the Judaization, the checkpoints, the arrests, and so on — we find ourselves on very solid ground. However, there is a Palestinian weakness in regards to the other issue. Therefore, targeting civilians — be it one civilian or a thousand — is considered a crime against humanity.
Interviewer: This is why Israel resorted to an attack against Gaza.
Amb. Khraishi: Appealing to the ICC requires a consensus in writing by all Palestinian factions: so [that] when a Palestinian is arrested for his involvement in the killing of an Israeli citizen, we will not be blamed for extraditing him.
Please note that many of our people in Gaza appeared on TV and said that the Israelis warned them to evacuate their homes before the bombardment. In such a case, if someone is killed, the law considers it a mistake rather than an intentional killing because [the Israelis] followed the legal procedures.
As for the missiles launched from our side, we never warn anyone about where these missiles are about to fall or about the operations we carry out. Therefore, people should know more before they talk emotionally about appealing to the ICC.