RAMALLAH, Wednesday, March 24, 2021 (WAFA) – The Ramallah-based Al-Haq human rights organization today condemned Israel’s denial of freedom of movement of Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki by revoking his VIP permit granted to Palestinian officials describing it as “an egregious interference with judicial process at the International Criminal Court.”
Following a meeting on 18 March with the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, and on Sunday 21 March Malki and his aides were interrogated by Israeli occupying forces at the Israeli military post at the Allenby Bridge crossing point between Palestine and Jordan.
Israel informed Malki and his aides that their VIP cards will be revoked because of their activity with the ICC and their meeting with the Prosecutor, particularly following the ICC’s decision to open an investigation into Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people in the occupied territories brought about following an official complaint by the Palestinians.
Israeli media quoted an unnamed ‘senior Israeli official’ as stating that: "Against the backdrop of Malki's activities designed to harm Israel, it was decided that there was no basis for Malki to benefit from 'special privileges' for when he crosses borders."
“The so-called privileges which the Israeli occupation forces choose to grant to certain Palestinians, and which remain subject to their arbitrary and discriminatory authority, are what international law recognizes as fundamental and basic human rights,” said Al-Haq. “The rights to which Palestinians have access under occupation, and are not ‘impinged’ by the oppression of the occupation, are minimal, with Palestinian society increasingly fragmented, and subjected to a broad regime of apartheid.”
It is against this backdrop that the International Criminal Court has opened an investigation into the Situation in Palestine, said Al-Haq. “As a Palestinian human rights organization, Al-Haq and its partners in civil society are routinely faced with hostile measures of collective punishment from Israel, which are characterized by a climate of fear and inclusive of a protracted campaign of smears and death threats – all designed to foil, undermine, and deter Palestinian engagement with the International Criminal Court.”
Al-Haq stressed in its statement that: “It is imperative that all states, including states party to the Rome Statute, condemn Israel’s unlawful targeting of Palestinians for their engagement with the International Criminal Court in its ongoing investigation into the Situation in Palestine. Palestinians have the right to accountability, and to struggle to bring to an end the root causes underpinning Israel’s disinformation campaign and quashing of freedom of opinion and expression in the occupied Palestinian territory, namely an end to the 13-year long land and naval closure of the Gaza Strip, an end to the 53-year occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, and an end to the 72-year apartheid on both sides of the Green Line.”