Three Palestinian human rights groups said they have asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel, accusing it of committing war crimes including genocide by bombing and besieging the Gaza Strip.
Israel is not a member of the Hague-based court and does not recognize its jurisdiction. It has previously said allegations of genocide are deplorable and that its actions target militants of the Hamas group that rules Gaza, not civilians.
Asked for comment, a spokesperson for Israel’s Foreign Ministry said: “Israel is also collecting evidence for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack [on Israel] and afterwards, including the use of civilians as human shields [in Gaza].”
The three rights groups – Al Haq, Al Mezan and the Palestine Human Rights Campaign – said they had asked the ICC to focus on Israeli air strikes on densely populated civilian areas of Gaza, the siege of the territory and displacement of the population.
“These actions amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide and incitement to genocide,” they said in a joint press statement.
The ICC said on Friday it had received a communication from the three groups and would assess the information, without going into detail on its contents.
Israel unleashed its assault on Gaza in response to a cross-border Hamas raid on southern Israel on Oct. 7 in which gunmen killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took about 240 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.
Palestinian officials say Israel’s actions in Gaza have since killed more than 11,000 people in the small enclave.
The ICC can investigate nationals of non-member states in certain circumstances, including when crimes are said to have been committed in the territories of member states. The Palestinian territories are listed among the ICC’s members.
Last week, families of Israeli victims of the Oct. 7 attacks also filed papers at the ICC urging it to look into Hamas crimes.