Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister al-Malki visits The Hague to open discussions on indicting Israel at the International Criminal Court

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Israeli occupation forces suppress a peaceful protest in solidarity with the Palestinian photographer Muath Amarneh who lost an eye after being shot by Israeli troops last month

MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Riad al-Malki, has discussed in The Hague with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, the developments of ICC’s preliminary examinations in light of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s declaration on settlements, warning against Israel’s exploiting of this declaration by taking illegal actions to speed up the annexation of the Jordan Valley.

Al-Malki also discussed the Israeli authorities’ policy of deliberate and systematic medical negligence against Palestinian prisoners, citing the case of cancer-stricken prisoner Sami Abu Diak, who died a few days ago following a severe deterioration in his health.
This came on the sidelines of the 18th session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which was held in The Hague.
Al-Malki stressed the need to open an immediate and urgent criminal investigation in light of the continued Israeli occupations’ crimes against the Palestinian people, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s declaration that the US no longer considers the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories as violating international law.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh yesterday expressed his government’s grave concern about planned American and Israeli projects in the besieged Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank.
‘The government views with great concern and follows the news coming from the Gaza Strip about projects and plans in the framework of the implementation of the deal of the century, and corresponds to the plans announced by (US president’s senior advisor) Jared Kushner at the Manama workshop last June,’ said Shtayyeh, speaking at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting held in Ramallah.
‘The American hospital declared to be implemented on the borders of Gaza, industrial cities, ports and floating islands embody the American plan that refuses to deal with the political demands and the national rights of the Palestinian people,’ he added.
These projects and schemes, which are an outcome of the ‘deal of the century’, aim at eliminating the Palestinian national project, he said.
Shtayyeh stressed his government’s rejection of all Israeli settlement plans, especially in the cities of Jerusalem and Hebron, and called upon the international community to take immediate measures against such plans.
‘The new settlement project in Hebron’s wholesale market confirms Israel’s insistence on direct collision as it implements a destructive scheme with broad political objectives,’ he said, pointing out that these plans come while settlers are escalating their violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank under Israeli army protection and command.
He pointed out that ‘the timing of these projects coincides with talk about elections and the restoration of national unity, and comes while Gaza is under siege and under the slogan of improving conditions, but the fact remains that these projects perpetuate the status quo in the Gaza Strip, deviate the compass from national unity and strike at the foundations of the Palestinian national project.’
Shtayyeh stressed the need to end the intra-Palestinian division by holding the general elections.

  • Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained at least 18 Palestinians in multiple overnight raids in occupied East Jerusalem and across the West Bank, said the Palestine Prisoner Society (PPS).

PPS confirmed in a press release that Israeli forces detained at least 10 Palestinians, including two teens, from the occupied city of Jerusalem.
Two of the detainees, aged 12 and 16, were identified as residents of al-Issawiya, and two others as residents of the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan.
Meanwhile, PPS confirmed that two Palestinians were rounded up from the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem.
Furthermore, Israeli military rounded up four Palestinians during a raid of the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
One of the detainees was identified as Azzam Shweiki, a 58-year-old former prisoner who spent 18 years behind Israeli bars and was deported for two years. He suffers cardiac problems.
In Ramallah district, PPS said Israel detained a Palestinian resident of Qalandia refugee camp.
In the northern West Bank, an Israeli military raid was conducted in Silat al-Dahr village, southwest of Jenin city, resulting in the detention of the brother of Sami Abu Diyak, who recently died in an Israeli prison due to medical negligence.

  • Meanwhile, the international position of the US Israel’s main sponsor, is worsening.

A trade deal between United States and China has now stalled after President Donald Trump signed into law a legislation supporting anti-government protests in the semi-autonomous territory, according to US media reports.
The deal was stalled also because time was needed to allow Chinese President Xi Jinping’s domestic politics to calm said a source close to Trump’s negotiating team last Sunday.
China’s Foreign Ministry said last Thursday that legislation signed by Trump last Wednesday backing protesters in Hong Kong was a serious interference in Chinese affairs.
Public anger in Hong Kong initially erupted against a controversial extradition bill.
The proposal was later shelved in the wake of criticisms, but anti-government rallies continue unabated, with rioters vandalising public and private property and attacking security forces and government buildings.
The Hong Kong crisis is definitely a negative factor in the trade talks, Zhang Yansheng, principal researcher at the state-affiliated think-tank China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, said at the Bloomberg forum in November.
Trump announced in October that his administration had reached a tentative agreement for the first phase of a trade deal, with China.
However, completion of a phase one trade deal will likely be postponed to next year, as Beijing presses for more extensive tariff rollbacks and Washington counters with more demands of its own, according to trade experts and people close to The White House.
The 16-month trade war with China has created turmoil for US businesses and farmers, disrupted global supply chains and increasing the threat of a recession worldwide.
A ‘phase two’ trade deal between the United States and China seems less likely, according to officials, lawmakers and trade experts from both countries.
Since early 2018, the United States has pursued a deliberate policy of attempting to hurt China’s economy in response to concerns about the shifting balance of economic power and ‘unfair’ trade practices.
The narrow, publicly stated goal has been to force China to change its industrial policies, including subsidies, state-directed lending, intellectual property protection and market access.
The broader strategic aim has been to restrain the country’s growth and shore up the current US-led global balance of power.
For many US policymakers, an economic slowdown has been a price worth paying to try to force changes in China’s economic policies and counter the country’s rapid economic rise.
For at least some US policymakers, any truce is designed to buy more time to complete the partial delinking of the US and Chinese economies and reorientate global value chains away from China.