You are here

A Palestinian village in 1948: Anatomy of an Israeli massacre

Salman Abu Sitta, Daleen Saah

The Israeli record of war crimes since 1948 has been unparalleled in its multiplicity, severity, consistency, and duration for over seven decades. Over all this time, Israel has escaped the world's legal accountability, other than occasional motions of censure. Today, however, there are signs that this could change. 

After a number of attempts to exclude Palestine from its jurisdiction, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda determined on 8 June 2020 that there was no reason to deny the status of Palestine as a State Party to the 1998 Rome Statute of the ICC and the exercise of the court’s jurisdiction.

Palestinians, represented by official bodies and NGOs, have since brought forth a stream of Israeli war crimes to the court, with approximately 3,000 documents being submitted to date. It is now up to the Court’s Pre-Trial Chamber, the body that determines whether to confirm charges in initial judicial proceedings, to give a final decision.

There were at least 156 recorded Israeli war crimes in 1948-1949, as documented in Table 3.2 of the Atlas of Palestine 1917-1966, published by the Palestine Land Society in London in 2010. Published studies have shown that the correlation between the location of a massacre, its date of occurrence, the Israel brigade involved, and the specific Israeli military operation with the depopulation of the village concerned and the method of the expulsion of its population is indisputable.