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Hamas calls ICC visit 'pointless' for skipping Gaza

The International Criminal Court has been criticised for missing out Gaza on its trip [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 9 October, 2016

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The International Criminal Court visited the West Bank - its first trip to the occupied Palestinian territory since the devastating 2014 Gaza War.
Hamas have called a visit by the International Criminal Court "pointless" after the delegation skipped besieged Gaza.

The ICC group toured Israel and the West Bank on Saturday and Sunday - the first visit to the occupied Palestinian territory since the 2014 Gaza War.

At the request of the Palestinians, the Office of the Prosecutor opened an initial probe into alleged war crimes by both sides during the 51-day conflict.

"It is regrettable that the ICC delegation yielded to the demands of the Israeli occupation to exclude the Gaza Strip from the delegation's schedule, despite the fact that the Gaza Strip was the main site of Israeli crimes in 2014," a statement released on the movement's website said.

The team travelled to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ramallah, and met with Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Although Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the visit was "not linked" to the "ongoing" inquiry into the war, the group were scheduled to meet with the committee charged with following up on ICC investigations.

It also visited the state-run television network Palestine TV, and a Palestinian newspaper, according to the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

On Sunday, the delegation will travel to the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank to attend an academic meeting at Bethlehem University.

Some 2,251 Palestinians - including 551 children - were killed in fighting between Israel's offensive on Hamas-run Gaza.

On the Israeli side, 73 people were killed, mostly soldiers.

Various human rights groups have charged Israel with international war crimes and submitted cases to the ICC related to Israel's devastating 2014 assault.

"Hamas considers the delegation's visit pointless and useless," its statement said.

"The visit has caused more pain and suffering for the families of victims who counted on the ICC to bring justice to them and bring the Israeli killers before the court."

The ICC's decision to skip visiting Palestinian enclave comes after it was subjected to Israeli airstrikes and tank fire, in response to rockets fired from Gaza, which landed in southern Israel.

It was also revealed this week 231 Palestinians had died at the hands of Israelis in a wave of unrest over the last year.

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