19:26 GMT19 January 2021
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    On Tuesday, the Palestinian government submitted a referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) urging prosecutors to investigate what it calls Israeli crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

    Miko Peled, an Israeli-American activist and author, told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear that the Palestinian request to the ICC is just symbolic. If the international community is truly interested in ending Israel's oppression of Palestinians, then it must engage in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the goal of which is to pressure Israel to comply with international law.

    ​"I don't think anyone expects anything to come out of it. If the international community is really interested in bringing out change, then BDS is really the way to go. Otherwise, nothing is going to change," Peled told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

    The BDS movement is a Palestinian-led movement fighting for the freedom, justice and equality of Palestinians by putting nonviolent pressure on Israel through the boycott of Israeli-made goods and academic and cultural events, pressuring companies to divest from Israel, and calling for international sanctions on Israel, to force the country to comply with international law and end the occupation of Arab lands.

    On Tuesday, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki arrived at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, the Netherlands, to meet with ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. Malki presented the prosecutor with a short review of the situation in the Palestinian territories. 

    "The State of Palestine took an important and historic step towards justice for the Palestinian people, who continue to suffer from ongoing, widespread and systematic crimes," Malki said in a press conference following the meeting.

    The fence line separating Israel from the Gaza Strip has been a trouble spot for decades, but the situation recently escalated after a six-week protest campaign dubbed the Great March of Return began on March 30. During the protests, Palestinian demonstrators demanded their right to return to territories seized by Israel in 1948 and protested what they describe as the ethnic cleansing of their former villages.

    The ongoing Palestinian protests were aggravated by the official opening of the US Embassy in the contested city of Jerusalem on May 14. Israeli forces killed more than 60 Palestinian protesters that day and injured more than 2,400 with live weapons fire and tear gas fired from drones, Sputnik reported. 

    Since the protest began on March 30, 104 Palestinians have been killed and more than 12,600 injured, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. A single Israeli soldier has been injured during the same time period. Among the Palestinian casualties are children and medical staff in clearly marked uniforms.

    "I follow all the social media accounts of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) spokespeople and they are working around the clock selling their nonsense on how they were fighting Hamas terrorists instead of killing innocent protesters in Gaza," Peled told Radio Sputnik. "The Israeli PR machine is working night and day — and they do a very good job."

    On Tuesday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry called the Palestinian referral "invalid," claiming in a statement that the ICC "lacks jurisdiction" over the issue "since Israel is not a member of the court and because the Palestinian Authority is not a state."


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