Tunisians took to the streets in several demonstrations to denounce Israel's daily massacres in Gaza (Reuters)

Writer Olfa Ben Hussein spoke – in a report for the site "Justice Info" – about a "great controversy" over a post published by the famous Tunisian mathematician Ahmed Abbas on his Facebook page regarding his lack of understanding of the government's position on its failure to contribute to moving the file of Israel's massacres in Gaza before the International Criminal Court.

Abbas, a research director at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris known for his activism in support of the Palestinian cause, said in his blog post that Tunisia is capable of "providing real support to Palestine rather than just blank rhetoric" given that it has signed, along with Palestine and Jordan, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Tunisia had the opportunity to join South Africa, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros and Djibouti in their request – to the ICC prosecutor on November 17 – to open an investigation into Israeli crimes in Gaza.


Abbas's post quickly turned into a petition published on December 5, which included a group of academics in Tunisia who distributed it to public figures and NGOs.

The petition's Arabic-language text calls on the authorities to "formally refer the matter to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and request an investigation into the crimes of genocide and ethnic cleansing committed by Israeli settlers over the past 75 years. These crimes have increased dramatically since October 2023, <>."

The Palestinian ambassador to Tunisia, Hael al-Fahoum, welcomed the initiative on December 13, but did not provoke any reaction from the Tunisian government. The authorities have remained silent about the actions, protests, and requests of local NGOs, which they have previously described as "corrupt," "foreign agents," and even "close to the Zionist movement."

President Kais Saied has on several occasions expressed his country's full and unconditional support for Palestinian resistance, going so far as to break with the "two-state solution" often supported by the country's politicians. Never before has Foreign Minister Nabil Ammar made so many statements around the world, reaffirming Tunisia's "firm and firm position on the legitimate and immutable rights of the Palestinian people."


Justice Info said in the report that the government of Tunisia has not yet seized the opportunity provided by the International Criminal Court to provide symbolic support to "brotherly and friendly people."

The author dismissed the hypothesis of Tunisia's distrust of the ICC as an excuse for not acting, given the way diplomacy worked in order to elect Tunisian judge Haykal Ben Mahfouz to the court in The Hague, who became the first Arab judge to join the court, which was praised by the Tunisian government.

Tunisia abstained from voting on the UN General Assembly resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, changing its position on December 12 and this time voting in favor of the same call for a ceasefire.

On November 12, Tunisia also expressed reservations on most of the provisions of the resolution of the extraordinary Arab-Islamic summit held in Riyadh in support of Palestine, including the resolution calling for recourse to the International Criminal Court.

Local consumption?

The writer quoted the director of public diplomacy and media at the Foreign Ministry, Mohammed Trabelsi, as saying in response to a question about the reasons for the government's differing reactions, "We do not rule out any option that would enable the Palestinian people to regain their rights."

"Our current priority is an immediate ceasefire, and we are working to achieve this goal through our diplomatic and political channels," he said. He called for focusing on the "real cause of the conflict", describing what is happening as "an occupation that we condemn and criminalize".

Tunisia's economy is mired in debt and depends on blocs considered allies of Israel, such as the United States and Europe, to repay it. According to some analysts, Tunisia's fragile economic situation may be the reason why the authorities have no recourse to international criminal justice.

Saied's impassioned official speech is likely to be directed more at "domestic consumption," in the words of a former foreign minister who asked not to be identified amid a crackdown on government critics that began last year.

Source: Swiss Press