♪ palestine has handed in papers to the u.n. to join the international criminal court which could see israel pursued for alleged war crimes. ♪ hello, i'm miriam live from doha. also ahead, another european rescue mission is underway to save hundreds of migrants who have been abandoned at sea. door to door house to house peshmerga fighters confront isil fighters in northern iraq.
and using actors to play muslim fighters, this video of a police drill is causing outrage in india. ♪ within the last hour the palestinian ambassador to the united nations says that palestine has applied to join the international criminal court. they said the move will pave the way for palestine to pursue israel for alleged war crimes in the court. kristin kristin kristin joins us now. how long before the palestinians can actually file cases with the courts? >> reporter: the standard procedure is 60 days between the filing of the application and being able to take action with the court. we just received a statement
from the spokesperson for the secretary general. it acknowledges the documents have been received and are being reviewed with a view to determining the appropriate next steps, which speaks to the fact that this is a bit of unchartered territory. we have a state that many countries don't recognize yet as a state, trying to join the international criminal court. that being palestine, it is recognized as an observer state here at the united nations, not a full member. joining the court has been opposed by the united states as well as israel. so what happens next is not 100% clear, but there is a 60-standard waiting period. the palestinians have indicated they have asked for retroactivity. that is any alleged crimes committed on their territory, going back to the formation of the international criminal court could be considered. the court was formed in 1998 and
actually started functioning in 2002, so they are making the case that any activity going back that far could be considered. but they specifically referred to israeli settlement activy and last summer's war in gaza as specific areas they wish to investigate. >> this is a very specific step in which we will be going through it to seek justice through a legal, civilized option. it is an option who anyone that upholds the law should not be afraid of. >> what if any impact will this have on the situation in israel and the occupied territories? >> well the united states has been making the case that this is going to hurt future
negotiations. they have described this mood as counterproductivety and creating an atmosphere that is not conducive to negotiations, and the palestinians stand to lose some $400 million in u.s. aid by taking this step that the united states has opposed. the palestinians are clearly hoping this is going to motivate some sort of concessions on the part of the israelis moving forward, and they say they are still open to negotiating and other steps including coming back to the security council. they tried to set a time line for an end to the occupation. that did not pass but some think they will have a more sympathetic council behind them in the few year. france has said that they would support such action going forward in the security council. so how this is going to play out
on the ground still remains to be mean. human rights watch says this should be a positive step that would discourage both sides from doing things inlegal, that includes the palestinians firing rockets into israel. the palestinians are now also open to prosecution by becoming a member. so groups like human right's watch think this could encourage negotiations to take place by discouraging acts against each other. >> thanks very much kristin. michael concernny lectures in law at the university of suffolk in the u.k. and joining us now. there is some uncertainty now in the next step of this process, a formal application for membership to the icc has been made. what are you watching for now?
>> well i think the only available option for the secretary general of the united nations is to approve palestines accession to their own statutes the treaty which established the international criminal court. and i don't see any reason why, other than once the 60-day waiting period has passed that the international criminal court can begin investigations. >> but even once that waiting period is over there could be obstacles to starting those investigations, right? it could be stopped? >> the only formal obstacle would be that the security council of the united nations has the power to adopt a resolution deferring any investigations. this is a power that the
security council has never used up to point in. i can't imagine that you could find a consensus to -- to adopt such a resolution. and that would take -- that would last for a period of 12 months. other than that i don't see what other obstacles are in the way of the court. >> perhaps political obstacles because if alleged war crime charges are pursued against israel certainly the u.n. bam -- the palestinian ambassador indicated they would be seeking retroactive investigations. that opens up the palestinians to scrutiny as well. >> yes, and i don't see any problem -- i think if a criminal court is to operate and operate fairly, then it needs to be investigating all parties to any conflict. it's not acceptable simply to investigated one side and not the other. obviously in the case of israel and palestine, i think it's
fairly clear that the conflict is driven by israel's occupation of palestinian territory. this occupation is characterized on the one hand by the physical -- direct physical violence of operations like we see in gaza which are widespread civilian casualties and so on. but on the other hand in the west bank in particular the occupation is characterized by the israel's settlement project. so i think -- well of course the court can investigate and should investigate allegations made against the palestinians. the vast majority of the crimes as noted by human rights watch and amnesty international, as well as various u.n. committees of inquiry over the years is that the lion's share of alleged criminality is definitely perpetrated on behalf of israelis.
>> michael thank you for your analysis. >> sure. the european border forces once again have come to the rescue of hundreds of migrants who were abandoned to people smugglers in the mediterranean sea. it landed a helicopter on the ship and is now trying to steer it toward the coast. simon mcgregor-wood has more. >> reporter: this ship normally carries livestock, it was drifting miles off of the italian coast with about 450 migrants on board. one migrant used the ship's radio to tell coast guard there was no crew and no one steering the ship. it is now being toed to italy. this is the second such incident this week. on wednesday the moldovan flag
blue sky m with 970 migrants on board was brought into the italian port. most of people also came from syria, many suffering the effects of hypothermia and frostbite after six days at sea. the use of much larger cargo vessels appears to be a new tactic by human photographicers. >> it's possible they discovered a new method of purchasing old crafts that are maybe seaworthy for one last voyage and then abandon ship. that's what we hear. >> reporter: it's a new challenge for the thinly stretched european agency frontex charged with patrolling the borders. the sheer scale of the problem
is overwhelming. 170,000 migrants reached europe in 2014. so far 2015 promises even greater numbers. lawrence lee is close to where the ship is being taken. >> reporter: if there's a piece of good news in this it's that the refugees who have been set adrift, they look like they are going to be okay. they are not going to die. it will be midnight before it gets in but we are being told they have been given food and water. the conditions probably on board are pretty horrible, but they will be safe. given that this is the second incident in four days in which a frighter has been set adrift at sea, for the italian coast guard to work out now is is this a
new tactic. where they take a much bigger ship that can survive these conditions in the middle of winter without capsizing, fill it full of hundreds of terrified and stranded refugees and basically let it go for someone else to sort out. it's a completely new problem for frontex and the european union to get their heads around. they might have to move their operation to places like turkey where it appears these are being sourced. but it is shameless for the traffickers to be behaving like this. because if the italian coast guard doesn't act to try to rescue these ships, they will simply break up on the rocks. kurdish peshmerga troops have been engaged in house-to-house fighting with isil fighters near erbil. mohammed has this report. >> reporter: heavy fighting at
the village 80 kilometers outside of erbil. it's one of a few villages peshmerga fighters recently recaptured from isil. isil fighters have battled to recapture it and as the fighting intensifies -- [ gunfire ] >> reporter: -- the peshmerga zero in on one of the houses. [ gunfire ] >> translator: there are some isil fighters behind in that house. they have remained behind after the others treated. >> reporter: more kurdish fighters move closer to the house. they spray it with bullets. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: there is nothing to confirm the bullets have hit their target so some of them move a bit closer. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: it's a mistake. bullets coming from the house. one of the peshmerga fighters has been shot. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: he is dead.
his colleagues carry his body away. one of them weeps over the body. in another part of the village a huge explosion rips through the village. [ explosion ] >> reporter: it's a car bomb targeting the peshmerga. more peshmerga reinforcements arrive as panic grows. the kurdish fighters decide it is time to bring the fighting to an end. rocket-propelled grenades are their weapon of choice. detecting no movement inside they set what remains of the house on fire. and for now the village is back in peshmerga hands. >> translator: is a very important village t as it on the banks of the river. the highway to mosul also passes here. that means we can stop isil soup
plies from this direction. >> reporter: these men know too well that it is skirmishes like this one that will decide who wins the war. they have made modest gains against isil in recent days but they are not yet underestimating their innocent -- opponents. they say they have to stop isil from moving further. still ahead for you on al jazeera this half hour messages of support and solidarity from swedes after a mosque attack. and we find out why these people living in a south african church must now look for a new home. ♪
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♪ welcome back. you are watching al jazeera. let's update you on our top stories. the palestinian ambassador to the united nations says the state of palestine will join the icc within 60 days. it paves the way for israel to be investigated in alleged war crimes. a cargo ship is being towed to shore after its captain and crew abandoned hundreds of migrants on board. this is the second ship set adrift off of the coast of italy this week. and in northern iraq kurdish peshmerga troops have been engaged in house-to-house battling with isil fighters.
now in other news, state media in saudi arabia has reported that the king has been breathing with the help of a tube after being admitted to the hospital. he has been in hospital since wednesday. it is believed he is suffering from a lung infection. now the family of peter greste is calling on egypt's president to deport him by presidential decree. guest ta mohammed fahmy, and baher mohamed have spent more than a year in prison. they were convicted of broadcasting false news and helping the out lawed muslim brotherhood. an appeals court in cairo ordered a retrial that could begin within month. >> i think it's a positive step that the decision by the court of cassation acknowledges that the first trial was flawed and it's a step towards seeking justice for peter. of course there's always -- there's an initial air of disappointment, because there was a lot of rumor running
around at the time that -- that they may have been released but, really when you -- your loved one is locked up in prison and there is any kind of opportunity that they may be released and it is dashed it is an initial shock, but once we have had time to digest the decision and stake stock of it we think it is a positive step because it does acknowledge that the process was flawed. the first trial was flawed and now peter becomes an accused person. he is still innocent and it allows the president to step in under the guise of the presidential decree announced in november, and we'll be seeking application to have peter brought back to australia under that degree. there's controversy in india after police carried out a mock security drill against muslim fighters. it shows the fake fighters
wearing skullcaps and shouting islamist slogans. al jazeera's faiz jamil has more from new delhi. >> reporter: when this first video came out, the one where we saw the people wearing the skullcaps, there was a lot of controversy even within the governing party. the dheef minister was -- chief minister was quick to apologize, but said it was an isolated incident. then we had the other video come out. this was during a mock terrorism drill near a dam. and this is now -- people are saying that this shows the police are doing this on a regular basis.
they are even doing it in their training. now people we talk to say the problem is not just with these police, but it's a county wide issue, with police targeting muslims and saying anyone wearing a skullcap is a terrorist. hundreds of people have gathered in sweden to support the muslim community there after a third attack on a mosque within the last week. it comes at a time of heightened debate over race and immigration in the country. >> reporter: no sign remains of the arson tack on this mosque not far from stockholm. the message scrawled replaced now by hundreds of messages of non-muslims. it was the third attack in a week. this one on christmas day.
four days later further south, another mosque targeted by suspected arsonistings local support here reflects a society shocked by signs of religious intolerance and intensified debate about immigration. >> i don't know what to say, really. people are so rude these days. i don't know how you can do something like this. i always consider like we not you, you, and you, it's just we you know? you are all from the same. >> everybody can believe in everything and anything. it doesn't matter where you come from or anything. >> reporter: sweden takes in the largest number of refugees and asylum seekers per capita of any country in the european union.
but not everyone is happy, the far right sweden democrats did pretty well in september's election. they want immigration cut by a full 90%, and their support is growing. mosque authorities told us they were afraid that the relatively harmless attacks so far would get worse. >> translator: the members of the community are very sad, and at the same time very worried. it is not only what has happened here, but also all of the incidents in the whole country. >> reporter: the government says the attacks aren't representative of the country, instead they do represent what is for the moment a very small minority. the remains of at least three victims of the airasia plane crash have been returned to their families. indonesian authorities and the ceo of airasia were at the ceremony with reefing relatives. 30 victims have been recovered so far from the java see.
the search for more is being hampered by poor weather. in south africa hundreds of people are facing eviction from a church in joes handestberg. nicole johnston has more. >> reporter: it's been a refuge for thousands of people with nowhere else to go. out of money and down on their luck they have turned to this church in johannesburg and here they have made a home. some try to keep things as tidy as they can. that's not easy. at its peak up to 4,000 people lived here. the bishop opened the doors to refugees and homeless south africans in 2008. at the time a tax on sim bob weeians living in the country was increasing.
>> the accommodation is not ideal, sleeping in steps and foyers for most of the people. no privacy, struggle with utilities. >> reporter: it may not be perfect, but it's all they have. now the bishop is leaving, moving to the suberb, and the church wants its residents to go too. it says they have run up an electricity bill of $170,000 so people are packing their bags some have been moved elsewhere, but there's not room for everyone. >> without anyway to go and as the day comes, i'm still myself standing in this church. >> there is a need for the church for the community, for government local and provincial to work together in order to find a solution. because the people are the responsibility of government. the church stepped in at the time when people were stranded.
>> reporter: around 350 homeless remain. they say they will go when the bishop does and this was never meant to be a permanent home. >> this is not a destination, but a bridge into a more permanent, dignified, acceptable piece of south african society. >> reporter: now many are left wondering where that bridge into the community will be? [ inaudible ] has started her second term as president of brazil by promising to pull the economy out of his four-year slump. at her swearing-in ceremony she also profited to cut inflation. she was narrowly reelected in a runoff. a new study says many cancers could be the result of bad luck rather than poor
lifestyle choices. our science and technology editor explains. >> as with all living things our cells naturally divide and replace themselves with copies of the cells. sometimes when a mistake or mutation occurs the cells become cancerous. some tissue types are more likely to become cancerous, while others only become cancerous very rarely. why this happens is not clear? so scientists looked at 31 different tissue types, notably not breast or prostitute cells, but what they found in 21 types was significant. in essence, cell division process is like roulette the more frequently the tissue is divided the more likely they were to develop cancer. what then are the other nine types of tissue in these showed an unexpectedly high rate of
cancer the result of environmental or inherited factors, these include lung cancer, which is caused freak bentley by smoking, skin cancer. what emerges is that you can reduce your risk of getting some cancers through lifestyle factors, but for other cancers it's a case of bad luck if and when they might occur. >> they have linked to the speed of the replication of cells with the probability of getting cancer. so this is a measured piece of work which does not negate the huge scientific evidence we have that links environmental and lifestyle factors. we still have to put out our efforts to prevent smoking, avoid heavy drinking avoid the obesity, promoting a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle, because this is what we can do. we can't change the biology, but we can change how it operates
against the environment. do remember that you can keep up to date with everything we're covering on our website, the address for that is aljazeera.com. >> ...i come around that corner... >> you don't want this? >> no, i think we should do it how we would normally... no exceptions >> should i also be in the picture? >> yeah [laughs] are you alright with that? >> no, i'm alright with that... >> ok, we're just gonna have to do it right?