3/3/2021–|Last updated: 4/3/202101:35 AM (Makkah)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vehemently attacked the decision of the International Criminal Court to open an investigation against Israel on suspicion of committing war crimes against the Palestinians, describing it as representing the essence of hypocrisy and anti-Semitism.
“Israel is under attack from the biased international tribunal, which has decided that our heroic and moral soldiers who are fighting fierce terrorists are war criminals,” Netanyahu said.
He added that the court, which was set up to ensure that the atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Jews, are not repeated, directs its decisions against the Jewish state, but the court itself does not say anything against Iran, Syria and other dictatorial regimes that carry out real war crimes.
The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, announced Wednesday that her office would open an official investigation into war crimes in the Palestinian territories, and that it would include the two parties to the conflict, in a move that Israel criticized as “moral bankruptcy.”
Bensouda indicated that this decision came after a preliminary examination conducted by her office that lasted about 5 years and within the context of the authority of the Criminal Court over the Palestinian territories in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
And she stressed that any investigation conducted by the Prosecutor’s Office of the International Tribunal will be independent, objective and impartial.
In turn, the United States announced on Wednesday evening its strong opposition to the International Criminal Court investigation into war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.
“The United States strongly opposes the declaration of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate the Palestinian situation,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
“We have serious concerns about the ICC trying to exercise its jurisdiction over Israel,” he added.
On the other hand, the Palestinian leadership welcomed the decision of the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into the crimes of the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories.
The head of the United Nations Department at the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Omar Awadallah, said, “The decision is bold and consistent with the rules of international and international law, and that the Palestinian leadership will support the court with the evidence and data required to hold Israeli officials accountable.”
The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) also welcomed the decision of the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into the crimes of the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories.
The movement’s spokesman, Hazem Qassem, affirmed that this is a step forward on the road to redress for the victims of Israeli war crimes.
Qassem called on the International Tribunal to resist the pressure exerted on it by the Israeli occupation government and other international parties, and to complete its mission of achieving justice and punishing war criminals.
Amnesty International described the International Criminal Court’s announcement to open an investigation into crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territories as a historic breakthrough.
“The start of the investigation is a major achievement for justice after decades of lack of accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said the head of the organization’s International Center for Justice, Matthew Kanook.
Kanouk emphasized that the investigation provides the first real opportunity for thousands of victims to gain access to justice and compensation, as well as an opportunity to put an end to the spread of impunity that has led to serious violations in the occupied Palestinian territories for more than half a century.
Amnesty International has called on governments around the world to provide full political and operational support for the criminal court when it begins its investigations.