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Representational Image: Protesters run in front of an Israeli military bulldozer during clashes with Israeli troops following a protest against the nearby Jewish settlement of Qadomem, in the West Bank village of Kofr Qadom, near Nablus, June 27, 2014.REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

Palestine's efforts to hold Israel to account for alleged war crimes got a shot in the arm with its imminent entry into the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 1 April.

The announcement of Palestine's entry to the ICC came from UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon on Tuesday. 

The development will enable Palestinians to push for investigations into alleged war crimes committed by Israel.

Israel has reacted sharply to Palestine's entry into the ICC and has resorted to freezing of tax funds of more than $100 million collected on behalf of Palestinians.

The United States has also stated that it will review its annual $440 million aid package to Palestine, according to The Associated Press.

Palestine had to ratify ICC's founding treaty – the Rome Statute – for the court to investigate war crimes in Palestinian territories. The statute was ratified last Friday, and the UN Secretary General announced that "the statute will enter into force for the State of Palestine on April 1, 2015."

Palestine had officially become an observer in the ICC during a session of the 122-member tribunal at the United Nations headquarters in New York last month.

War crimes in the conflict-ridden region were out of bounds of the ICC as both Israel and Palestine were not members of the ICC. Now, with Palestine joining the international body, war crimes such as those seen during the recent war in Gaza can now be investigated.

The 50-day war last year had killed more than 2,000 people in Gaza, while thousands were injured and displaced.

The move by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to ratify the ICC statute comes after the failed bid to end "Israeli occupation" in Palestinian territories.

The United Nations Security Council had rejected a Palestinian resolution on 30 December aimed at ending "Israeli occupation" by setting a three-year deadline for the establishment of a Palestinian state on lands occupied by Israel. 

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