Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Sunday “efforts” by friendly states to block the International Criminal Court (ICC) from launching an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by his country against the Palestinians in their occupied territories.
Netanyahu told his cabinet that countries had responded to Israeli lobbying over the launching of the investigation.
“We are struggling against this [proceeding] and, at our side, I must say, are many friends around the world [which] joined the U.S. [United States] in a steadfast stand alongside Israel.”
Despite Israel and the U.S., not being members of the ICC, both countries are now allowing themselves to dispute the court’s jurisdiction, arguing a Palestinian state does not exist.
— Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) February 17, 2020
After nearly four years of preliminary investigation, the ICC’s top prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said on December 20 that the war crimes probe would be expanded into a full-scale inquiry, looking into whether Israel has carried out atrocities in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as Gaza.
Bensouda also declared that Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territories may constitute a war crime.
But, according to ICC records, Brazil, Hungary, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Australia -all Israeli allies- applied to file legal opinions to the court over the case.
Germany said it would posit that the court has no jurisdiction to probe possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories because Palestine is not considered a state and Brazil said it would argue it’s not the court’s role to intervene in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which should be resolved through political negotiations.
Fifty-seven Muslim states represented by the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) asked to file a legal brief, arguing that the Palestinians have sovereignty over the Palestinian territories.
Netanyahu is hailing efforts by "friendly states" – including Germany, Brazil, and Austria – to stop the ICC's investigation into alleged war crimes against Palestinians: https://t.co/9bjEmJ1PP6 pic.twitter.com/zzX6pthGuO
— Al-Shabaka الشبكة (@AlShabaka) February 17, 2020
The Palestinian Bar Association, the International Commission of Jurists and other legal and human rights organization have also asked to file briefs with the court to say it does have jurisdiction in this case.
“It is clear that justice for Palestinians in the face of Israeli aggression, itself fueled by unconditional American support, is not at all possible if it is not accompanied by regional and international unity,” wrote Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud.
“Without this kind of international will, the ICC investigation could become another sad case of justice denied, a non-acceptable option for any justice-seeking individual, organization, and government anywhere in the world,” Baroud added.
(Palestine Chronicle, TeleSur, Social Media)