As stated by the chief international prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, the international criminal court has recently started an investigation into some suspected war crimes in Palestine, such as the deadly 2014 Gaza war.
There is no doubt that it will expose hundreds of Israelis, including soldiers and senior political officials, to trial. The aim of this long-wanted inquiry is not only to investigate accused Israelis but also to scrutinize the criminal Palestinians.
The decision to open this survey was first made in 2019. Bensouda declared that the court would look into “crimes within the jurisdiction of the court that are alleged to have been committed” since 13 June 2014. She also added the investigation would be managed “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor”.
However, these steps toward achieving justice were widely criticized by some authorities in Jerusalem. It was quickly denounced as “morally and legally bankrupt” by Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.
The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, also said: “the decision of the international court to open an investigation against Israel today for war crimes is absurd. It’s undiluted antisemitism and the height of hypocrisy.”
Netanyahu also added “the state of Israel is under attack this evening. The ICC, which was established to prevent a repeat of the horrors the Nazis instigated against the Jewish people, now turns against the state of the Jewish people. Of course it doesn’t say a word against Iran and Syria, and other tyrannical regimes, frequently committing real war crimes.”
Reuven Rivlin, Israel’s president described the decision “scandalous”: “We will not accept claims against the exercise of our right and our obligation to defend our citizens. The state of Israel is a strong, Jewish and democratic state which knows how to defend itself and to investigate itself when necessary.”
“We are proud of our soldiers, our sons and daughters, the essence of our people, who stand guard for their country generation after generation, a defensive wall against all those who seek our harm,” he continued.
Joe Biden has also disagreed with ICC’s decision to investigate against Israel. But his disagreement cannot be effective, since United States is not a party to the ICC.
But it was of course welcomed by Palestinian authorities. The Palestinian foreign ministry said “this long-awaited step serves Palestine’s vigorous effort to achieve justice and accountability as indispensable bases for peace.” He also emphasized “the crimes committed by the occupation’s leaders against the Palestinian people are lasting, systematic and far-reaching”.
The international criminal court (ICC), is authorized to investigate situations in which local authorities have failed to comply. Now it wants to focus on the Gaza war of 2014, the 2018 Gaza border deadly encounters, and Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank. The ICC is also going to check the actions of Hamas to see whether their militias committed war crimes by firing rockets or not.
Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesperson in Gaza said: “we welcome the ICC decision to investigate Israeli occupation war crimes against our people. It is a step forward on the path of achieving justice for the victims of our people. ”
“Our resistance is legitimate, and it comes to defend our people. All international laws approve legitimate resistance,” said Qassem.
Bensouda also said in a statement “the decision to open an investigation followed a painstaking preliminary examination undertaken by my office that lasted close to five years.” “In the end, our central concern must be for the victims of crimes – both Palestinian and Israel – arising from the long cycle of violence and insecurity that has caused deep suffering and despair on all sides,” she added. “My office will take the same principled, non-partisan approach that it has adopted in all situations over which its jurisdiction is seized.”
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