Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will not co-operate with the ICC’s investigation into alleged war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will tell the International Criminal Court (ICC) that it does not recognize the authority of the tribunal, which plans to investigate possible war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
After meeting with senior ministers and government officials before Friday’s deadline to respond to the ICC’s notification, Netanyahu said Israel would not co-operate in the investigation, but would send its response.
“It will be made clear that Israel is a country under the rule of law that knows how to investigate itself,” he said in a statement on Thursday. The response would be that Israel “completely rejects” claims that it has committed any war crimes.
The statement added that the ICC had “no authority to launch an investigation against Israel” and would not co-operate.
Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute that the ICC established and therefore is not a party to the court by definition.
ICC prosecutors, who named both Israel and Palestine as potential perpetrators, said a letter was sent to all parties on March 9 giving them a month to tell the court whether they were conducting their own investigation into the alleged crime and wanted to postpone an ICC investigation.
‘Crimes committed on both sides’
Located in the West Bank, occupied by the Palestinian Authority, has been an ICC state team since 2015. Palestinians have welcomed the investigation and said they would not seek a stay.
The world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal, the ICC was set up in 2002 to try the worst human rights crimes where local courts were willing or unable to take action.
ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said his investigation would cover the situation in the occupied West Bank, the occupied West Bank and the occupied Gaza Strip in East Jerusalem since 2014.
It will focus on the 2014 Gaza war, but also on the deaths of Palestinian protesters since 2013.
After a five-year preliminary investigation, Bensuda said the Israeli military had a “reasonable basis” to believe that Hamas – which has controlled Gaza since 200 – and other Palestinian armed groups – had committed crimes.
Hamas welcomed the ICC investigation and argued that its attack on Israel was a just act of “resistance”.
PA also expressed his interest in cooperating with the ICC.
“We have sent this response to the ICC,” said Omar Awdallah, a senior Palestinian foreign ministry official.
“Full cooperation will continue with the ICC as a member state of the judiciary from the Palestinian state to bring justice to the victims of the Palestinian people and hold Israel accountable for its crimes,” Abdullah said.
On Thursday, Netanyahu, a vocal critic of the ICC, accused the court of “hypocrisy” for targeting Israeli troops “fighting high moral standards against terrorists”.
Israel’s long-serving prime minister has previously called the probe “anti-Semitic” and strongly condemned the decision, calling Israel an “attack.”
In his statement on Thursday, Netanyahu made it clear for the first time that Israel would not be directly involved with the ICC. The United States has also criticized the ICC’s investigation and said it would support its ally Israel.
The ICC last week welcomed the lifting of Donald Trump’s ban on Bensoda by US President Joe Biden, saying it signaled a new era of co-operation with Washington.
The Trump administration imposed financial sanctions and visa bans on Bensuda last year after launching an investigation into alleged war crimes by U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan.