April 4, 2015

Separation Wall No Longer to Pass Through Cremisan

On April 1, the Palestinian Authority officially joined the International Criminal Court (ICC), thereby allowing the ICC to investigate war crimes. According to the New York Times, “Palestinians hope to use the court to bring international pressure to bear on Israel and call it to account for policies and actions that the Palestinians maintain are war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the Israeli assault on Gaza last summer and the continuing construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.” Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement said that “the Palestinians decision to join the ICC to initiate judicial proceeding against Israel is political, cynical and hypocritical.”

Concurrently, Israel announced that the tax funds will be released to the PA which has been withheld since January as punishment to the PA’s decision to join the ICC. In exchange the PA is not expected to pursue the issue of settlements at the ICC for now. The decision to release the flow of tax funds to the PA were grounded on the basis of humanitarian need and “Israel’s interests”, said Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office. The release of tax funds was a decision that was made under the advice of Israel’s security officials, who warned that the continuing freeze of tax funds could destabilize the West Bank, increasing the possibility of violence. As of Thursday, the tax funds has not been released.

After a nine year campaign, Israel’s top court blocked a plan to build a separation wall dividing the Cremisan valley that is home to two Salesian monasteries and a convent school. As part of the ruling, the court “ordered the military to find a route less harmful to Palestinians living in the Cremisan valley.”

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