The May airstrike demolishing Gaza’s al-Jalaa building will be investigated by the ICC

On 3 March 2021, the International Criminal Court’s Prosecutor announced the opening of a formal investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories in the state of Palestine.

The Middle East Monitor (MEM)  thinks that the ICC decision gives some reason to believe that ‘accountability is looming on the horizon’. Palestinians also hope that Israel’s impunity will end and that its extremist government and illegal settlers will no longer be allowed to commit such acts across the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israel does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction and says it is capable of investigating any possible wrongdoing by its army. It asserts that the investigation  is unfair and politically motivated.

America’s Associated Press (AP) has called on Israel to make public the evidence it used to justify the May bombing of the al-Jalaa building

At the end of October, speaking at a conference hosted by Tel Aviv’s Institute for National Security Studies about the importance of public perception during military conflicts. Maj. Gen.(res.) Nitzan Alon, the former head of IDF Operations admitted:

“Bringing down the tower with the AP offices was equivalent to a self-inflicted ‘public relations terror attack’ and an own goal, in our view. Not everyone in the IDF believes this, but I am convinced that this was a mistake. The operational benefit was not worth the damage that it caused diplomatically and in terms of perception”.

Palestinians inspect their destroyed houses following overnight Israeli air strikes in town of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, in May 2021

Though due to a warning the building was evacuated and no lives were lost, the case for a war crime could cite the further long-term economic damage done by the May attacks. Many jobs were lost with the closure of companies sited in the building and many families were displaced. Human Rights Watch pointed out that there will be serious, long-lasting economic damage to the Palestinians who lived, worked, shopped, or benefited from businesses based there .





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