Israel said on Saturday it will defend its troops after the International Criminal Court [ICC] at The Hague ruled that it has jurisdiction to open a war crimes investigation over offenses committed in Palestinian territories.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Saturday in a letter to the IDF that Israel “will act resolutely to prevent harm to IDF commanders and soldiers”.
Gantz slammed the ruling as “grave” and “unfounded” and slammed the ICC as “a tool in the hands of the enemies of … Israel, and those who seek to harm it through the political exploitation of international bodies”.
#Investigation to Move Forward: Everything You Need to Know about #ICC Latest Ruling on #Israeli #WarCrimes (SPECIAL REPORT) https://t.co/VWb9AWtd6q via @PalestineChron https://t.co/xnrUHJ9Nr9 pic.twitter.com/btHMhrJiHV
— The Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) February 8, 2021
“The decision of the judges at The Hague is grave and has no basis in international law. The proceeding…is conducted without authority and is unfounded,” he said.
If an investigation opens, several Israeli officials, including the prime minister, and army heads, would be subject to criminal proceedings and possibly arrest warrants.
Earlier, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu also slammed the ICC over its ruling, calling the move “pure anti-Semitism”.
For many Palestinians, an ICC probe is a belated chance of justice for victims of Israeli attacks.
Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh on Friday praised the ruling.
— The Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) February 7, 2021
“This decision (of the ICC) is a victory for justice and humanity, for the values of truth, fairness, and freedom, and for the blood of the victims and their families,” Shtayyeh said, according to the official WAFA news agency.
The move is a “message to perpetrators” who “will not go unpunished”, Shtayyeh added, calling on the ICC to speed up legal proceedings over the 2014 conflict in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian prisoners, and the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
According to ICC rules, if Israel refuses to cooperate with the court, the ICC could issue secret arrest warrants.
(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)