The United Nations General Assembly granted Palestine the status of a non-member observer state on November 29, 2012. This status enabled Palestine to ratify international conventions and treaties and join over 115 international organizations and agencies.
By upgrading the international status to a non-member observer state, Palestine was also able to join the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. Hence, Palestine is permitted to sue Israel for acts that take place in their territory, such as alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes.
However, Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority do not themselves comply with the basic principles of international law and human rights. Abbas rules over Palestine with an iron fist. Abbas is implicated in the many cases of unlawful imprisonment, torture and murder of the civilian population of the West Bank, including his political rivals and critics.
Abbas shows no compunction when silencing critical voices. Issa Amro, a prominent Facebook activist, who dared to speak out against the Palestinian Authority in a post, was arrested and imprisoned for seven days for the crimes of insulting “higher authorities” and creating a “sectarian strife” in 2017.
Torture is carried out by Abbas’ forces on a large scale. More than 180 Palestinian civilians are tortured yearly. Young men from Balata Refugee Camp, widely known as a central point of resistance against Abbas, were detained on allegations of criminal activity in 2017. Palestinian security forces subjected them to prolonged torture, repeatedly using grave physical violence, and locking them into tiny 60cm by 60cm cubicles with nearly no possibility to move. The accused were kept imprisoned in those spaces for up to 22 hours a day for 22 consecutive days.
Mahmoud Abbas’ reputation as a peacemaker is just a façade that hides his true identity and agenda. The peace process came to a halt long before the US decision to relocate their embassy to Jerusalem. There are strong allegations of Abbas having played a role in the 1972 massacres at the Munich Olympics and the continual payments made to Palestinian terrorists and their families cause additional cracks in the veneer Abbas hides behind.
The misery of the Palestinian population in Gaza is also largely due to Abbas’ inadequacy as a leader. He has reduced the electricity supply, provoked healthcare bottlenecks and has stopped the payment of salaries of officials in Gaza. He wants to bring his strongest political rivals, the Hamas, to their knees even if the price is the suffering of the civilian population.
However, whenever Abbas visits Brussels, he is warmly welcomed like an old friend of the European Union. As one of the initiators of the 1993 Oslo Accords, he is considered moderate. Thus, his administration continues to be sponsored by the EU with hundreds of millions of euros. No consequences, certainly not financial ones, have been imposed because of Abbas’ appalling actions.
The more accusations against Mahmoud Abbas came to light, the more obvious it became that his actions could not be ignored any longer. The Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) took initiative and started a legal examination of the crimes committed by Abbas. While collecting data, the testimonies against Abbas grew and the number of cases reached an alarming amount. In consultation with experts in international law the JIJ rendered the factual data into a legal report.
On February 20, 2019 the JIJ submitted a communication to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague regarding crimes against humanity committed against the Palestinian citizens in the West Bank by Mahmoud Abbas. In a meeting with the OTP the issue was taken very seriously, and constructive thoughts were shared. This tribunal has the moral responsibility to bring the perpetrator of such horrific crimes to justice.