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Tel Aviv Fears ICC Decision

Tel Aviv Fears ICC Decision

Monday, 23 December, 2019 - 07:45
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting, at his office in Jerusalem, December 1, 2019. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)

Judicial sources in Tel Aviv asserted on Sunday that International Criminal Court (ICC) top prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s decision to move forward with an investigation into the Israeli war crimes against Palestinians would open up current and former government officials and military personnel to prosecution on the global stage.

During the weekend, Israeli media focused on the possibility that Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and current or former military or political officials, face the risk of arrest in more than 100 countries in the world, after the ICC opens an official investigation on suspicions of war crimes in the Palestinian territory.

The sources said that it was not by surprise that all Zionist party leaders, including opposition parties, oppose the ICC decision.

Meanwhile, the Israeli government decided not to reveal the steps it plans to take against The Hague court.

Still, Israeli leaders, one after the other, began lashing out at ICC and Bensouda’s decision by accusing them of “political terrorism” against Israel and of Islamism.

Speaking during his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu condemned the ICC’s intention to launch a full investigation into alleged war crimes in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories and he said the ICC has no jurisdiction in the case, charging that Israel "operates in accordance with the highest legal standards of the Western democracies."

Netanyahu called Bensouda’s decision "an absurdity."

Last Friday, the ICC prosecutor said that she believes war crimes "have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip."

A source at the Israeli Foreign Ministry said the ICC was exerting “political terrorism against Israel.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz told Channel 11 News that the Israeli government has been "afraid" to take action against the illegal Bedouin village of Khan al Amar over concerns such an act would be the "last straw" for the International Criminal Court.

Israel is also cautious about a decision that comes in advance of the ICC’s pre-trial chamber in the coming 120 days.

Tel Aviv awaits the highly anticipated UNHRC blacklist of companies doing business with Israeli entities in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

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