Arab League chief calls for special court to try Israel
April 21 2016 05:43 PM
Hamas forces
Members of Hamas' security forces patrol an area along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, where Hamas began increasing its forces, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday.

AFP/Cairo

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi called on Thursday for a special criminal court to be set up for Israel, at a meeting to condemn an announcement that it will never return the Golan Heights.

Delegates to the 22-member Arab bloc based in Cairo are expected to pass a resolution denouncing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's pledge Sunday that the occupied Golan Heights would remain Israeli "forever".

Israel occupied the Golan during the 1967 Middle East war with Syria, Egypt and Jordan, and annexed it in 1981, in a move never recognised by the international community.

Israeli media have reported that Netanyahu organised a cabinet meeting in the Golan - where he made the pledge - amid fears Israel could come under pressure to return the area as part of a future peace deal for its war-torn neighbour.

Israel was acting like "a country that is above the law and accountability," Arabi told delegates at the start of the Arab League meeting.

He demanded "a special criminal court for the Palestinian cause," along the lines of international tribunals set up to try ex-officials of "the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Cambodia and Sierra Leone".

Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Cairo and delegate to the Arab League, Ahmed Qattan, accused Israel of trying to profit from the conflict in Syria.

"The Zionist entity is exploiting the years of crisis in Syria," he said.

With Syria suspended from the League, its 21 other members on Thursday unanimously approved a resolution condemning Israel and asking the UN Security Council to force Israel to submit to international law and UN resolutions.

The text of the resolution referred to Netanyahu's "aggressive statements" on Sunday and "Israel's repeated attempts to impose the status quo in order to annex" the Golan.



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