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Summaries of 8 articles by Daily Alert on the ICC’s desire to investigate alleged war crimes in the disputed territories

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Dec. 23, 2019

International Criminal Court to Probe Alleged War Crimes in Palestinian Areas – Stephanie van den Berg
The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said on Friday she would launch a full investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories as soon as the court’s jurisdiction had been established. Bensouda said a preliminary examination into alleged war crimes, opened in 2015, had provided enough information to meet all criteria for opening an investigation.
    “I am satisfied that…war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip,” she said. She added that she had filed a request with judges for a jurisdictional ruling because of the contested legal status of the Palestinian territories. (Reuters)


    See also Statement of ICC Prosecutor on the “Situation in Palestine” (International Criminal Court)

    See also Israel Responds to ICC Probe: “This Is a Dark Day for Truth and Justice”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday: “This is a dark day for truth and justice. The ICC prosecutor has decided not to dismiss outright the Palestinian claim against the State of Israel. It is a baseless and outrageous decision. The court has no jurisdiction in this case. The ICC only has jurisdiction over petitions submitted by sovereign states. But there has never been a Palestinian state.”
    “The ICC prosecutor’s decision has turned the International Criminal Court into a political tool to delegitimize the State of Israel. The prosecutor has completely ignored the legal arguments we presented to her. She has also completely ignored history and the truth when she says that the very act of Jews living in their ancestral homeland, the land of the Bible, that this a war crime. We will not be silent. We will not bow our heads before this outrage. We will continue to speak out against this travesty of justice.”  (Prime Minister’s Office)

The International Criminal Court Unfairly Targets Israel – Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo
U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo said Friday: “Today, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda…asked the ICC judges to confirm that the Court may exercise jurisdiction over the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and Gaza. By taking this action, the Prosecutor expressly recognized that there are serious legal questions about the Court’s authority to proceed with an investigation.”
    “We firmly oppose this and any other action that seeks to target Israel unfairly….We do not believe the Palestinians qualify as a sovereign state….The United States also reiterates its longstanding objection to any assertion of ICC jurisdiction over nationals of states that are not parties to the Rome Statute, including the United States and Israel….The United States respects the decision of those nations that have chosen to join the ICC, and in turn, we expect that the decision on the part of the United States and Israel not to join and not to place our personnel under the court’s jurisdiction will also be respected.”  (U.S. State Department)

    See also Bolton: ICC Decision on Israel Is “Lawless”
Former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton tweeted Saturday: “The decision of the International Criminal Court’s Prosecutor to investigate Israeli actions in Gaza and the West Bank proves yet again that the ICC is lawless and unaccountable. U.S. sovereignty is at stake here as well as Israel’s. We must reject any ICC effort to assert jurisdiction over states like Israel and the United States or their citizens. There can be no compromise and no surrender on this point.”  (Twitter)
 Netanyahu: We Will Overcome the ICC, Just as We Overcame Other Anti-Semites in History (Prime Minister’s Office)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday at the Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony:
    “2,200 years ago, the Maccabees fought the war of liberation for the Jewish people and the Jewish faith against the anti-Semitic Greeks. They wanted to extinguish our faith, to stamp on our freedom, to drive us out of this land, to say that we have no right to exist.”
    “In the year 2019… the International Criminal Court, that should know otherwise, has set forth decrees that are just as anti-Semitic as the decrees of the Greeks.”
    “They say the Jews do not have a right to settle in the Jewish homeland. They say the Jews do not have a right to live in the land of the Jews, in the Land of Israel.”
    “Well, we say, shame on you. The light of truth lights here and we will overcome you, just as we overcame other anti-Semites in history.”
Israeli Mayors near Gaza: “We Are Victims of War Crimes” – Matan Tzuri
The Forum of Israeli Mayors of Gaza border communities condemned the ICC announcement regarding an investigation into Israeli war crimes. “The prosecutor should come out here and see what 19 years of war crimes look like with civilians subjected to shelling day and night,” they said. (Ynet News)
Israel Does Not Commit War Crimes – Editorial
Israel does not intentionally harm civilians in Gaza or anywhere else. Yes, civilians are harmed in Gaza by IDF actions, but they are not the target. In 2015, a panel of former top military leaders and generals from eight democratic countries investigated the 2014 Gaza War. Their conclusion: Israel’s conduct in the conflict “met and in some respects exceeded the highest standards we set for our own nations’ militaries….The IDF not only met its obligations under the Law of Armed Conflict, but often exceeded these on the battlefield at significant tactical cost.”
    Furthermore, Jews living at the site of the biblical Shiloh, or in the shadow of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, are not committing war crimes. To say that a Jew living in Judea – the cradle of Jewish civilization – is a war criminal is ridiculous. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet on Sunday: “To turn the fact that Jews are living in their land into a war crime is an absurdity of unimaginable proportions.”
    What starts with Israel will not end with Israel. If today Israeli politicians and soldiers will be charged with war crimes for the unintentional death of innocents during a military campaign, then tomorrow the politicians and soldiers of other countries will also find themselves so accused.
    Syria intentionally commits war crimes. Iran intentionally commits war crimes. Turkey intentionally commits war crimes. Israel does not. (Jerusalem Post)
(Click on the title of any article to see the whole article…Ed.)
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