Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday that his administration will submit a motion against Israel to the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Saturday in the wake of the deadly arson attack that left an 18-month-old boy dead and his family severely injured.
A spokesperson for Abbas said on Friday that Ramallah views the Israeli government as responsible for the attack, which took place in the Palestinian village of Duma in the northern West Bank.
The Palestinians will argue before the ICC that Israel’s policy of protecting Jewish settlers and expanding settlements in the West Bank encouraged incidents such as the arson that decimated the Dawabsha family.
Abbas called the attack a “war crime”.
“We will not stand still at all. As long as the occupation and settlement exist these acts (attacks) will continue. We are preparing the file of this crime, and the previous crimes to send it immediately to the International Criminal Court, and nothing will stop us and there is no excuse not to go there (to the ICC),” Abbas told a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The attack has generated wall-to-wall condemnation in Israel, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing “shock and disgust” over the incident while vowing that law enforcement will arrest those responsible.
The White House on Friday condemned in the strongest possible terms the “vicious” arson attack.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also condemned on Friday the killing, saying the absence of a peace process and Israel’s illegal settlement policy had sparked violent extremism by Jews and Palestinians.
“Continued failures to effectively address impunity for repeated acts of settler violence have led to another horrific incident involving the death of an innocent life. This must end,” Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
Though Israel has promised to crack down on such extremists, only a handful of indictments have been handed down.
The Israeli military boosted forces to search for the suspects in Friday’s attack, described by a spokesman as “two masked terrorists,” and to prevent any escalation in violence. The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas called for revenge.
Ban urged all parties to ensure that tensions do not escalate further.
“The absence of a political process and Israel’s illegal settlement policy, as well as the harsh and unnecessary practice of demolishing Palestinian houses, have given rise to violent extremism on both sides,” he said.
Israeli police said Friday’s attack appeared to be retribution by a settler group that opposes Israeli government curbs on the expansion of settlements.
The last round of US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014.
Reuters contributed to this report.