Israeli officials say ICC has no right to investigate any Israeli for war crimes

Israeli prime ministerial candidates Naftali Bennett and Gideon Sa’ar have both condemned the ruling of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that it has jurisdiction to open a criminal investigation into ‘Israel’ for war crimes in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

“Let me be clear, the ICC has no right to investigate, no right to indict, no right to try and no right to convict any Israeli whatsoever,” said Yamina Party leader Bennett. “The International Criminal Court is a sham.”

He added, “Israel is not a member of this fake court.”

He also made a call that he will ensure that the “hands of Israeli soldiers will never be tied” and “will never again be at the mercy of others.”

He then asked that if the ICC is currently making a list of “Israeli suspects,” he will be first put at the top of that list and take the allegations head on.

On Friday, the International Criminal Court said that its jurisdiction extends to territories occupied by ‘Israel’ in the 1967 war, clearing the way for its chief prosecutor to open a war crimes probe into Israeli war crimes.

“The Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine … extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” the judges said.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said in 2019 that there was a reasonable basis to open a war crimes probe into Israeli war crimes against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as well as Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.

However, she asked the court to determine whether she has territorial jurisdiction before proceeding with the case.

Palestine has asked the court to look into Israeli war crimes during its 2014 war against the Gaza Strip, when the Israelis killed 2147 Palestinians including women and children, and wounded 10870 others, as well as Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem. Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.

“It is yet another example of how the Palestinian Authority is working to hijack international institutions to attack Israel,” Sa’ar, the former cabinet secretary, said.

“Shame on the ICC, for allowing sponsors of terror to abuse the cause of justice,” he added.

“Israel is the most attacked country in the world, with the most moral army in the world, ” Sa’ar said, asking: “And this is the country that the ICC chooses to undermine its right to self-defense?”

“I will not allow Israel to be attacked in this way,” he added. “I will work closely with our greatest ally, the United States, and other countries to fight such hypocrisy and double standards.”

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz also slammed the ICC ruling, calling it “grave”, “unauthorized” and a “tool in the hands of the enemies of the State of Israel, and those who seek to harm it through the political exploitation of international bodies.”

“The poor ruling by the ICC lacks any basis in international law and exposes the actual motivation for the proceedings: the political exploitation of international institutions to serve Israel’s detractors and critics,” Gantz tweeted.

He continued, “Israel has its own independent justice system and highly effective mechanisms for inquiry and investigation, when necessary. The IDF & Israel’s defense establishment will continue to protect our country & our people, while upholding our moral standards and international law.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also called the decision a “pure anti-Semitism” and promised to fight it.

“When the ICC investigates Israel for fake war crimes, this is pure anti-Semitism,” Netanyahu said.

(Source / 08.02.2021)

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