According to the news media, Israel has frozen US$127 million in Palestinian tax funds after Palestine moved to join the International Criminal Court (ICC). These funds are a main source of income for the Palestinian authority to run government affairs, schools, hospitals and civic facilities.
Palestinian authorities are short of funds now and over the last several months government employees and health workers were not able to receive their salaries. Palestinian authorities have already cancelled all security rations with Israel after the tragic killing of Palestinian a minister by Israeli forces. Although human rights organizations appreciate and welcome the Palestinian decision to join the ICC, Israel’s close ally, the US, has criticized Palestine’s move to join the ICC and threatened to cut aid to the Palestinian authority.
Only days ago, the US and its allies tried hard to block the Palestinian resolution against Israeli occupation in the UN Security Council. According to the US State Department, Palestine’s move to join the ICC can derail the peace process and both Israel and Palestine should solve their problems through dialogue. The truth of the matter is that without addressing core issues between the two rivals, Palestine and Israel, dreams of peace can’t come true in the region. After the 1993 Oslo Peace Accord, Israeli and Palestinian people have seen nothing but death, destruction and hardship.
Despite killing more than 2,000 innocent people, including 600 innocent children, and destroying 80 percent of the infrastructure in Gaza, no one has been held responsible and brought to justice. The US-backed peace process and John Kerry’s recent Middle East visits have become a big joke these days. The UN Security Council has divided into pro-Russian and pro-US groups and both groups are using veto power to provide cover to their allies and their human rights violations. After the miserable performance of the United Nations and its Security Council, Palestinian authorities have decided to join the ICC.
The truth is that media statements and cosmetic steps can’t bring change in the region. All previous peace processes brokered by the US and other powers have failed to provide any results and things are going from bad to worse. Despite serious concerns from the world community, the UN and the US, illegal Israeli constructions are still going on and only in the last three months several Palestinian people lost their lives due to brutalities of Israeli border guards. The long siege of Gaza and the cuts of basic facilities have become big questions for the world community and thousands of Palestinian people are still living without electricity and medical facilities.
Khawaja Umer Farooq