A number of Palestinian groups have submitted a 700-page communique to the International Criminal Court, ICC, detailing evidence of Israel’s complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The groups include al-Haq, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and Aldameer Association for Human Rights, which are all based in the occupied territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
In a statement Wednesday, they called on ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to "urgently open a full investigation into the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory" as a "necessary step to ending the culture of impunity that has long prevailed in regard to Israeli crimes and to hold high-level political and military officials accountable.”
"This communication, which is based on factual information collected by the four organizations, covers the following crimes against humanity in accordance with the Rome Statute: murder, deportation or transfer of population, persecution, apartheid," an al-Haq representative told Al Jazeera.
The files, the representative added, also includes evidence of war crimes such as "willful killing, extensive destruction and appropriation of property, unlawful deportation or transfer, transfer by the occupying power of its civilian population into occupied territory, pillaging of a town, destroying or seizing the enemy's property.”
While Israel has not signed on to the Rome Statute — the treaty that all ICC members are bound to — its citizens can still be tried by the court for crimes that were committed on Palestinian territory.
Wednesday’s submission to the ICC is not the first to be submitted by the group. Since Palestine first joined the court in April 2015, the group has sent three other communications on crimes committed in the territory dating back to June 13, 2014.
The 2014 Israeli war on Gaza is the first major offensive with potential ICC jurisdiction. In the war, 2,200 Palestinians were killed, including 1,462 civilians, 500 of whom were children.
"Given that the authorities on the ground have been unwilling to credibly investigate … it (is) urgent that the prosecutor's office moves this to a formal investigation and takes steps to ensure that those that commit serious abuses in Palestine are held to account for their actions," said Omar Shakir, Israel/Palestine director for HRW.