RAMALLAH, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat on Tuesday urged the international community to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to hold Israel accountable for its practices against Palestinians.
Erektat said in a press statement that he has sent identical communications to world governments over Israeli violation in East Jerusalem, asking them to cooperate with the ICC in order to launch an immediate investigation into "the crimes of war criminals and Israeli officials."
He said the letters explained "Israel's illegal and systematic measures, including the illegal annexation of Jerusalem since 1967, that aimed at eliminating the Palestinian presence and creating a Jewish majority in the city at the expense of the rights of the Palestinian people."
Palestinians were outraged after Israeli forces began a massive house demolition of 12 residential buildings belonging to Palestinians in Wadi Al-Hummos area of East Jerusalem's Sur Baher neighborhood Monday morning and decided to cancel all agreements signed with Israel.
Israeli authorities said the buildings were built without permits near Israel's separation barrier, displacing at least three Palestinian families, totaling 17 people, including nine children.
The Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Ishtaye addressed reporters at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah that most of the demolished and threatened buildings fall within the areas designated "A" and "B," and by doing this, accusing Israel of violating international law and agreements.
"Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has instructed Foreign Minister Riad Malki to add this criminal act to the file we had submitted to the International Criminal Court," Ishtaye added.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said it is seeking international measures that would hold Israel accountable for its "crimes in Jerusalem."
In his statement, he demanded that Michelle Bachelet, United Nations high commissioner for human rights, not to hesitate in issuing the United Nations database of companies operating with the Israeli colonial-settlement system, and genuinely seek the protection of the Palestinian people.
He warned against "the occupying power's unilateral policies to expel Palestinians from the city, including land confiscation, residency revocation, rejecting family reunification, dividing territory and banning Palestinians from construction, among other unlawful measures."
The residential buildings, which included around 70 apartments, in Wadi Al-Hummos in Sur Baher, were mostly located in area classified as Area (A), which is under the control of the Palestinians, while only two were located in Area (C).
Under the interim Oslo Agreement signed between the PLO and the Israeli government in 1993, the West Bank was divided into three areas, Areas (A) under Palestinian control, (B) under the joint control of the Palestinians and Israeli security, and (C) under full Israeli control and take up over 300 percent of its 5,655 square km area.
Local residents told Xinhua that the Wadi Al-Hummos is the only area where construction of residential buildings is allowed after Israeli authorities confiscated the majority of the town's lands for settlement activity. The area is isolated as it is surrounded by Israeli settlements and the Israeli constructed separation wall.
According to the UN data, Israel has approved only 1.5 percent of the construction building permits requested by Palestinians.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future independent state, while Israel wants all Jerusalem to be its eternal capital. Israel annexed East Jerusalem in the 1967 war and declared the whole city as its eternal indivisible capital in 193000, but the move has never been recognized by the international community.