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ICC prosecutor pledged to conduct thorough investigation of crimes in Israel, Palestine

Karim Khan admitted that the conflict has a complicated nature but stressed that international humanitarian law "must still apply"

THE HAGUE, December 3. /TASS/. Prosecutors of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will conduct the most thorough investigation of war crimes in Israel and Palestine, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said in a statement issued after his visit to Israel and Palestine.

"My Office will further intensify its efforts to advance its investigations in relation to this situation. In this work, we will rely on the partnership of all actors to ensure that when action is taken by my Office it is done on the basis of objective, verifiable evidence which can stand scrutiny in the courtroom and ensure that when we do proceed we have a realistic prospect of conviction," he noted.

During his visit, the ICC prosecutor met with the families of Palestinian victims, as well as with Palestinian leaders, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He admitted that the conflict has a complicated nature but stressed that international humanitarian law "must still apply."

Touching of issues of humanitarian assistance, he called for ensuring timely access to it for civilians. However, he emphasized that this aid "must not be diverted or misused by Hamas."

"I also, yet again, emphasized my profound concern with the significant increase in incidents of attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank," he went on to say. "I stated that no Israeli armed with an extreme ideology and a gun can feel they can act with impunity against Palestinian civilians. In Ramallah, I heard directly from those affected by such attacks. I underlined that we are continuing to investigate these incidents with focus and urgency. I wish to emphasize that all such attacks must cease immediately. No person should feel any sense of impunity for such attacks.

Tensions flared up again in the Middle East on October 7 after militants from the Gaza Strip-based radical Palestinian group Hamas launched a surprise incursion on Israeli territory, killing many Israeli kibbutz residents living near the Gaza border and abducting more than 200 Israelis, including women, children and the elderly. Hamas described its attack as a response to Israeli authorities’ aggressive actions against the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. Israel declared a total blockade of the Gaza Strip and launched bombardments of the enclave and some areas in Lebanon and Syria, as well as a ground operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Clashes are also reported in the West Bank.