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French Police Ban Anti-Israel March Amid Anti-Semitism Fears

Despite gov't withdrawing ban on rallies, police cite serious violence at previous protests to forbid weekend anti-Israel march.
By Ari Soffer and AFP
First Publish: 7/25/2014, 3:41 PM

Anti-Israel rioters in Paris
Anti-Israel rioters in Paris
Reuters

French police said Friday that a protest planned for the weekend in Paris against Israel's military operation in Gaza has been banned, following several similar rallies that turned violent.

Organizers of the rally scheduled for Saturday immediately lodged a legal challenge, their lawyer, Hosni Maati, said.  

Three pro-Palestinian rallies, two of them which had been banned but took place anyway, degenerated earlier this month, with some protesters looting, hurling anti-Semitic slogans and clashing with police. Earlier demonstrations saw hundreds of Muslim extremists attacked a major synagogue in Paris, provoking clashes with Jewish youths who rushed to defend the site and worshippers trapped inside.

The announcement by police comes the French government lifted a ban on protests following the anti-Semitic violence, after receiving "guarantees" from protest organizers that they would work to prevent further violence.

Meanwhile, a French lawyer said Friday he had lodged a complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on behalf of the Palestinian Authority's "justice minister" accusing the Israeli army of "war crimes".  

Hamas sources say more than 800 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, launched on July 8 in response to Hamas terrorists firing rockets into civilian population centers.

The complaint targets "war crimes committed by the Israeli army in June and July 2014 in Palestine" in the context of the operation known as Protective Edge, Gilles Devers told reporters.  

"Israel, the occupying power, is carrying out a military operation which in principle and form violates the basis of international law," he said.

"Every day new crimes are committed and over 80 percent of the victims are civilians," he added, citing Hamas figures, which Israel disputes. "Children, women, hospitals, UN schools... the Israeli soldiers respect nothing."

"This is a military attack against the Palestinian population."  

The Palestinian Authority, which has non-member observer state status at the United Nations, has not yet signed up to the Hague-based ICC, due to what Devers said were "political" quarrels over the Palestinians' status.

But according to Devers, the complaint is still valid.

Despite his claim, however, the PA's own human rights envoy warned against ICC action, saying that Hamas's violations of international law were far worse than anything Israel could be accused of.

The UN Human Rights Council is already launching a probe into Israel's offensive in Gaza, with rights chief Navi Pillay saying the Jewish state's military actions could amount to war crimes.

In response Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office branded the decision to target Israel and ignore Hamas a "travesty", and called the commission itself a "kangaroo court" reminiscent of the infamous Goldstone Report.