The International Criminal Court (ICC) green-lighted in 2015 a preliminary probe into allegations of war crimes allegedly committed by Israel in the Palestinian territories. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has signed the Rome Statute and formally accepted the court’s jurisdiction over its soil.
The inquiry reportedly scrutinizes Israeli construction beyond the Green Line, the 2014 Gaza War, and protests on the border in the Gaza strip which were sparked by Palestinian 'Great March of Return'.
According to The Times of Israel, the possible ICC ruling to authorize a full-scale investigation into allegations of war crimes by Tel Aviv will make high-profile Israeli officials, along with senior military personnel, vulnerable to international prosecution.
The prime minister, defence ministers, IDF chiefs and the heads of Shin Bet (the nation's intelligence agency) over the past five years could all reportedly face prosecution. The Times of Israel said that low-ranking soldiers could be also put on trial.
The media outlet cited an Israeli official who said that “a decision will be reached after the legal teams make their recommendations” as to whether Israel will cooperate with the ICC’s pre-trial department in the coming 120 days.
Other sources, cited by Channel 12, expressed an opposing view, stressing that “there will be no cooperation with the court", according to The Times of Israel.
The media report suggested, citing sources, that private Israeli organizations could defend prosecuted individuals but noted that the government in Tel Aviv will not cooperate with the probe in any capacity.
Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit reportedly slammed the ICC move.
Mandelblit claimed, cited by the media outlet, that Israel “is a democratic state of law, obligated and committed to respecting international law and humanitarian values. This commitment has stood strong for decades, through all the challenged and tough times Israel has faced. It is rooted in the character and values of the State of Israel and guaranteed by a strong and independent justice system…there is no place for international judicial intervention in such a situation”.
Top ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has referred the matter of the probe to the Hague-based tribunal to rule on the specific territory over which it has jurisdiction.
The probe, if launched, would reportedly cover Tel Aviv's ongoing policy of settling citizens in the West Bank, the nation's actions during the 2014 war in Gaza, and Israel's response to the Palestinian protests in the Gaza strip held since March 2018. The investigation will reportedly also look at Hamas’ targeting of Israeli civilians during the 2014 war and its use of Palestinian civilians as human shields, The Times of Israel said.
The ICC deals with the prosecution of individuals rather than entire states. Notably, Israel is not a member of the international court.
The ICC move was earlier welcomed by the Palestinian Foreign Ministry and criticized by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Washington has echoed Tel Aviv's response.
For decades, Palestinians have sought the recognition of their nation on the territories of Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government has refused to recognize the Palestinian authority as an independent political and diplomatic entity, and continues to build settlements in occupied areas, despite objections from the United Nations and the rest of the world.
The situation worsened in May 2018 after the United States relocated its embassy, from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and recognized the holy city as the capital of Israel. The PA afterward rejected Washington’s unilateral mediation efforts in the peace process.
سایت تابناک از انتشار نظرات حاوی توهین و افترا و نوشته شده با حروف لاتین (فینگیلیش) معذور است.