by Mara Vigevani
Gaza Belt farmers declared Sunday that they will appeal to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to indict Gaza-based Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and the head of the terrorist organization’s political leader Ismail Haniyeh for damages from terror kite terrorism flowm from Gaza the aim of setting Israeli fields on fire and causing physical and environmental damage.
“Join in Prosecuting Hamas in The Hague!” wrote the farmers in a petition demanding the prosecution of Hamas for war crimes in the ICC and calling on additional farmers and citizens to join the lawsuit.
“Hamas has organized riots along the Gaza border and urged its population to infiltrate into Israel. They have called on the public to attack Israelis in their homes, and threatened to kidnap and murder as many [Israelis] as possible. Youngsters in Gaza are being encouraged to carry out cross-border arson attacks against Israeli farmers using flaming kites. The twisted strategy centers on causing civilian casualties and generating condemnations of Israel. Hamas’s action violates international law and constitutes war crime,” the farmers wrote.
The farmers are seeking 100,000 signatures for the petition. Since launching it Sunday they have already acquired 10,000 signatories after having made the announcement a week after the Palestinian Authority declared its government would sue Israel at the International Criminal Court at The Hague following the death of more than 100 Gazans in violent disturbances along the border with Israel over the past several weeks.
The lawsuit will be the first civilian response to incendiary kite terrorism, which has caused damages of millions of shekels of crops and irrigation equipment to the Gaza Belt farmers.
Shurat HaDin — The Israel Law Center, a NGO that fights terrorism through legal means and combat boycotts of Israel — will represent the farmers at the ICC.
The are suing Hamas for a series of offenses that violate the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the treaty that established the ICC, including the burning of agricultural fields through the use of the incendiary kites, attacking Israel’s borders, using children for combat purposes, and using the civilian population as human shields.
“The current situation, in which activists of a terrorist organization burn fields in Israel every day, is unacceptable. It is inconceivable that senior Hamas officials accuse Israel of war crimes while using its civilian population, especially children, as human shields. We call upon the International Criminal Court in The Hague to bring them to justice,” said Shurat Hadin director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner.
Darshan-Leitner told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that she plans to submit the lawsuit within the next few weeks.