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Abbas praises ICC prosecutor’s ‘courage’ in opening Israel war crimes probe

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday welcomed the International Criminal Court’s decision to open an investigation into war crimes allegedly committed by Israelis and Palestinians.

“The Palestinian Presidency expresses its great appreciation for the [ICC] prosecutor’s decision regarding the opening of a criminal investigation into the situation in Palestine, which includes the Gaza war, settlements, and the issue of prisoners in the Israeli occupation’s jails,” Abbas’s office said in a statement.

Outgoing ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced on Wednesday that she would open an investigation into actions committed by Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem since 2014.

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Her announcement was immediately welcomed by the Palestinian Authority and furiously condemned by Israel. Abbas’s office waited almost a whole day to respond to the move, well after many other officials in Fatah and the Palestinian Authority.

The PA president praised what he called “the independence and courage of the prosecutor in defending truth and freedom.” Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court (ICC) during the closing statements of the trial of Bosco Ntaganda, a Congo militia leader, in The Hague, Netherlands, August 28, 2018. (Bas Czerwinski/Pool via AP)

The announcement of the investigation came less than a month after the court ruled it had the jurisdiction to open a probe. A preliminary investigation to settle the justiciability........

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