On December 2, a significant meeting took place in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinians, including Eman Nafii, were given the opportunity to interact with Karim Khan, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Nafii, the wife of the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner in Israel, was among those eagerly anticipating a chance to voice her concerns about the Israeli occupation and its impact on her family. However, the meeting's structure left many participants feeling unheard and marginalized.
Khan, who dominated the conversation, allowed only 10 minutes for the Palestinians to share their harrowing experiences. “People got angry. They told him, ‘You are coming to listen to us for 10 minutes? How are we going to tell you about our stories in 10 minutes,’” Nafii expressed to Al Jazeera.
Among the attendees was a woman from Gaza who had lost 30 family members in the conflict. “How can we explain this in 10 minutes?” she exclaimed in frustration.
Double Standards and Disappointment
Although Khan extended the session to an hour, the initial time allocation raised concerns about the ICC's approach to investigating alleged crimes in the region.
Palestinians fear a double standard, focusing primarily on Hamas while neglecting serious allegations against Israel. These concerns were exacerbated by Khan's acceptance of an Israeli invitation to visit communities attacked by Hamas on October 7, contrasting his refusal to visit West Bank areas like illegal settlements and refugee camps.
Palestinian officials and legal experts have criticized Khan's apparent lack of interest in investigating Israel's actions. Omar Awadallah, overseeing UN human rights organizations for the Palestinian Authority, expressed alarm: “Khan became enthusiastic to start this investigation [in the occupied territories] after October 7.
That’s alarming,” he told Al Jazeera. “[The Palestinian Authority] gave him retroactive jurisdiction from 2014. [Khan] cannot say that he didn’t see crimes being committed [in the occupied territories] from 2014 until October 7,” Awadallah emphasized.
The chances for Palestinians to obtain justice through Israeli courts are slim, as Yesh Din reports a less than one percent success rate for complaints against Israeli soldiers. The ICC, an alternative for justice, has yet to issue arrest warrants against Israeli officials or soldiers for alleged crimes in Gaza and the West Bank.
A legal expert from Al Mezan, a Palestinian human rights organization, told Al Jazeera, “We have submitted plenty of legal analysis and evidence to the office of the prosecutor even before Khan was elected”.
The expert, requesting anonymity, added, “We believe that [Khan’s] office has enough evidence to issue warrants for Israeli political and military leaders by now”.