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2 May, 2024 01:07

ICC has no right to investigate Israel – US

The Hague-based court should not act against West Jerusalem over the war in Gaza, the State Department has claimed
ICC has no right to investigate Israel – US

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction over Israeli officials, US State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel insisted to journalists on Tuesday.

His statement followed reports that The Hague-based court could issue arrest warrants for the Israeli leadership over the conduct of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza. Bloomberg wrote on Monday that G7 countries had privately told the ICC that Israel could back out of a potential ceasefire if investigators target its officials directly.

Despite not recognizing the jurisdiction of the ICC over its own citizens, the US cooperates with the court in “a number of key areas, Patel told reporters. “We think that they do important work as it relates to Ukraine, Darfur, Sudan,” he added. “But again, in this particular instance, I’m sorry, they just do not have jurisdiction.”

Officials in West Jerusalem are concerned that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi may be targeted by the ICC, according to the Times of Israel.

Israel is neither a signatory to the ICC nor does it recognize its jurisdiction. In a video released on Tuesday, Netanyahu hit out at the potential warrants as “an outrage of historic proportions.”

“Branding Israel’s leaders and soldiers as war criminals will pour jet fuel on the fires of anti-Semitism,” Netanyahu said, adding that his country does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction. He accused the ICC of attempting to “paralyze Israel’s very ability to defend itself.” Just like the US, Israel is not a party to the ICC.

In his address, Netanyahu reiterated that the Israeli army will not stop until the Palestinian militant group Hamas is neutralized, and “that Gaza never poses a threat to Israel again.”

In January, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), a separate judicial body, ruled that it is “plausible” that the IDF’s actions in Gaza amount to genocide. The court is currently examining the case brought against Israel by South Africa, although a ruling could take years. Israeli President Isaac Herzog condemned the ICJ’s decision to initiate proceedings as “atrocious and preposterous.”

The current round of fighting between Israel and Hamas erupted on October 7, when Palestinian militants attacked Israeli territory, killing more than 1,100 people and kidnapping more than 250.

More than 34,000 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza during Israeli airstrikes and ground operations, according to local authorities. The UN has repeatedly sounded the alarm over the ever-worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza, whose population is plagued by hunger and lack of supplies.

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