Netanyahu: Israel will “not cooperate” with the ICC in its “war crime” probe against soldiers involved in anti-terror operations.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to tell the International Criminal Court (ICC) that it had “no authority” to proceed with its war crimes probe against Israel.
The letter to this effect will be sent to the Hague-based court, Israeli Prime Minister’s office said on Friday. Israel “expects the court to refrain from violating its sovereignty and authority,” the statement from his office read. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government had agreed “to not cooperate” with the tribunal, the statement concluded.
The formal Israeli reply to the ICC is in response by the tribunal’s ruling in February to allow its prosecutors to open an investigation against member of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for carrying out defensive military actions against the Palestinian and jihadi terrorist groups.
The Times of Israel news website reported the prime minister’s response to the ICC:
Israel will tell the High Court of Justice that the court does not have the authority to probe alleged war crimes by Israel and Palestinian terrorists.
In its formal response to The Hague-based court’s decision to open the war crimes probe, Israel will say it won’t cooperate with the investigation, according to a statement Thursday from the Prime Minister’s Office.
“In the letter, it will also be noted that Israel completely rejects the claims that it is carrying out war crimes,” the statement said.
The Prime Minister’s Office said Israel’s stance has been made known to the court by “central countries and world renowned experts” and stressed the Jewish state is “committed to the rule of law” and capable of investigating itself.
The decision on how to respond came after two days of talks held by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and other top officials.
In March 2020, ICC lead prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, opened a similar “war crimes” probe against the U.S. troops fighting jihadi terrorist groups the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Neither the U.S. not Israel are members of the tribunal, putting both countries outside the court’s jurisdiction.
Israel may not receive the same level of support from the U.S. as it did under former President Donald Trump. Earlier this month, the Biden administration lifted Trump-era sanctions and travel bans on ICC top prosecutor Bensouda and other officials. Bensouda is the driving force behind the ICC’s campaign to launch war crimes investigations against U.S. and Israeli military personnel engaged in war against terrorism.
While the Trump White House was willing to take the ICC head on for its attempts to prosecute U.S. servicemen who are fighting terrorism abroad, calling it a “kangaroo court,” the Biden administration has markedly shifted the tone. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called President Trump’s countermeasures against ICC “inappropriate.”
Not surprisingly, the ICC probe against Israel has been welcomed by Palestinian terrorist groups who are waging war against Israeli soldiers and civilians alike. In February, Gaza-based Islamic terrorist group Hamas praised ICC’s “credibility and integrity” for launching the witch-hunt against the Jewish State. The probe was “necessary steps to hold the Zionist war criminals accountable in international courts,” the jihadi outfit declared.
“ICC investigates Israel for fake war crimes” (February 2021):DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.