Israel revoked Palestinian Authority (PA) Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki’s special travel permit after he returned to the West Bank on sunday from a trip to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.
The Palestinian diplomat urged ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to accelerate the pace of the investigation into Israeli crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories during his visit, accusing the occupation state of “continued violations of Palestinian human rights” and promising that the Palestinian Authority would “fully cooperate” with the probe.
“The foreign minister stressed the importance of expediting investigations into the crimes committed in the territory of the State of Palestine, in a manner that ensures justice for the victims and their families among the Palestinian people,” Al-Maliki’s office said in a statement.
Al-Maliki had travelled to The Hague for a meeting on Thursday with British lawyer Karim Ahmad Khan, the new prosecutor at the ICC.
Having the special travel permit confiscated makes it harder to move through Israeli military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank and travelling abroad will require Israeli permission.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Palestinian official said Al-Maliki’s entourage was stopped and interrogated by the Shin Bet security services at the scene as they entered the West Bank from Jordan through the Israeli-controlled crossing.
This is the Foreign Minister of the State of Palestine. He doesn’t represent himself. He represents the State of Palestine, and we regard this as an attack against the State of Palestine
Ahmed Al-Deek, an official from Al-Maliki’s office, told Reuters.
The Shin Bet declined to comment. An Israeli official confirmed the incident, according to the Times of Israel, but stressed that cancelling Al-Maliki’s pass was a one-time decision.
On 3 March, Bensouda announced the initiation of an official investigation into possible war crimes by Israel committed in the occupied West Bank and blockaded Gaza Strip.
The decision was welcomed by the PA, but both Israel and the US strongly condemned the move.