Turkey vows to bring Israel to ICC over Gaza carnage, Tel Aviv says Ankara will be there first

“Israel should be taken to the International Criminal Court [over the killing of Palestinians]. Since third parties cannot do it, Palestine needs to initiate this,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told state broadcaster TRT Haber on Thursday, referring to the recent spike in violence in the Gaza Strip.

Ankara is now looking at what legal action can be taken against Israel, the diplomat said, calling the Israeli military’s use of live fire against civilians a crime. “This crime against humanity should be probed by an independent commission and Israel should account for its actions before the law,” Cavusoglu added.

Firing back at the Turkish statement, Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister, said Turkey is “ripe” to appear in the ICC long before Israel. Recalling Turkey’s crackdown on Kurds, he told Israeli Kan Bet radio that “those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”

Earlier this week, massive protests raged across the landlocked Gaza Strip, with people protesting the official inauguration of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. At least 60 Palestinians died from IDF bullets and tear gas, while more than 2,700 protesters were injured.

Israel’s Deputy Health Minister responded by saying the country’s authorities did not approve the Turkish evacuation flight, but decided to allow treatment of the wounded on Israeli soil and. Israel has also conceded to send medical supplies to Gaza, he said.

Turkey then raised stakes in a lingering political row, withdrawing its envoys from Tel Aviv and Washington, and expelling Israel’s Ambassador from Ankara.

READ MORE: Israel blocks Turkey from transporting wounded Palestinians from Gaza

As tensions mounted, Ankara accused Israel of denying permission for a humanitarian flight to evacuate the wounded from Gaza to Turkey. Later, Israeli authorities said they decided to allow medical treatment of the wounded in Israel and conceded to sending medical supplies to Gaza. 

Hamas, however, refused to accept supplies marked with Israeli Defense Force (IDF) stickers, only allowing in packages sent by the Palestinian Authority and UNICEF, according to Israel’s military liaison.

Palestine acquired the long-awaited membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2015. The accession to the Hague-based judicial authority was a significant victory in Palestine’s international legal campaign to seek justice for the 2014 Israeli operation ‘Protective Edge’, in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.

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