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Israel revokes Palestinian foreign minister’s permission | Gaza News




Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki’s VIP permit was seized by Israel on his way back to the occupied West Bank.

Israel revoked Palestinian foreign minister’s VIP permit after he returned to the occupied West Bank from a trip to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Israeli and Palestinian officials have confirmed.

A Palestinian official said Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki was detained on Sunday as he entered the West Bank occupied by Jordan through the Israeli-controlled crossing.

Al-Maliki’s VIP card was seized, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was discussing a sensitive diplomatic issue. The loss of VIP status makes it more difficult to move through Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank and travel abroad will require Israel’s permission.

Israeli officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter, confirmed the incident but questioned security agency Shin Bet, which declined to comment. The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also declined to comment.

The move comes amid Palestinian support for an ICC investigation into possible war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories. ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced earlier this month that she was opening an investigation into possible war crimes committed by Israel in the West Bank and blocking the Gaza Strip.

The investigation is expected to look at the conduct of Israeli armies in a 2014 war against Hamas militants and during months of mass protests along the Gaza border with Israel in which dozens of unarmed Palestinians were killed or wounded by Israeli weapons.

The probe is also set to review Israel’s settlement policies in the West Bank and occupy East Jerusalem, areas captured in 1967.

According to the Palestinian Foreign Ministry, al-Maliki met with Bensouda last Thursday and urged it to speed up investigations to end the era of impunity and begin the path of responsibility for Israel.

The investigation began in response to a request from Palestinians, who joined the tribunal in 2015 after being granted non-observer status at the United Nations General Assembly.

Israel has strongly condemned the investigation, accusing the ICC of bias and saying it has no jurisdiction as the Palestinians do not have a state. Israel is not a member of the ICC, but its citizens could be subject to arrest abroad if warrants are issued.

The court said last week that it had sent formal notices to both parties about the upcoming investigation, giving them a month to seek adjournment proving they were conducting their own investigations.

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