Lawyers at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. (AP Photo/Jerry Lampen, Pool) AP Photo/Jerry Lampen, Pool
Netherlands International Court

“We will fight this perversion of justice with all our might,” Netanyahu declared, calling the International Criminal Court’s ruling an act of “pure anti-Semitism.”

By Aryeh Savir, TPS and United with Israel Staff

The International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled Friday that its jurisdiction extends to territories liberated by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, clearing the way for its chief prosecutor to open war crimes probes into Israel’s military actions in Gaza and its presence in Judea and Samaria.

“Palestine” is a State party to the ICC Rome Statute and therefore the ICC’s jurisdiction extends to the areas under its control, the Pre-Trial Chamber I ruled by a majority on Friday.

“When the ICC investigates Israel for fake war crimes – this is pure anti-Semitism,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated.

“The court established to prevent atrocities like the Nazi Holocaust against the Jewish people is now targeting the one state of the Jewish people,” he said. “It outrageously claims that when Jews live in our homeland, this is a war crime.”

“Second, it claims that when democratic Israel defends itself against terrorists who murder our children and rocket our cities – we are committing another war crime,” he continued. “Yet the ICC refuses to investigate brutal dictatorships like Iran and Syria, who commit horrific atrocities almost daily.”

“As Prime Minister of Israel, I can assure you this: we will fight this perversion of justice with all our might!” he declared.

IDF: ‘A Biased and Prejudiced Decison’

“The State of Israel’s position is that this is a biased and prejudiced decision which steps beyond the ICC’s jurisdiction,” the IDF stated.

“The IDF has determinedly defended, and will continue to defend, the security of Israel and its citizens, in the face of every threat, while adhering fully to the IDF Code of Ethics, the values of the IDF, and national and international law,” it stated.

The IDF further “fully supports and will continue to support its soldiers in active and reserve service, who courageously and devotedly act to safeguard and protect the State of Israel and its citizens.”

The IDF “is ready to provide all and any support and assistance which may be required by its soldiers and commanders.”

“The State of Israel is prepared for any possible consequences that could arise from this wrong, political and biased decision,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz, a former IDF Chief of Staff said. “The defense establishment, together with other bodies in Israel, will act resolutely to prevent harm to IDF commanders and soldiers, and members of the entire defense establishment.”

‘Rewarding Palestinian Terrorism’

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi stated that the ICC “distorts international law and turns this institution into a political tool of anti-Israeli propaganda.”

“The ICC has no jurisdiction to deliberate the Palestinian case,” he said.

Ashkenazi accused the ICC judges of “rewarding Palestinian terrorism, as well as the refusal of the Palestinian Authority to return to direct negotiations with Israel,” adding that the ruling “will further polarize both sides.”

He called upon “all nations that value the international legal system, and object to its political exploitation, to respect the sovereign rights of states not to be subjected to the Court’s jurisdiction.”

“The State of Israel will take every necessary measure to protect its citizens,” he concluded.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelbleit restated his position that the ICC “lacks any jurisdiction on this matter given, among other reasons, that no sovereign Palestinian state exists nor does any territory belonging to such an entity.”

Israel’s legal position “has garnered the support of leading nations and world-renowned legal experts, yet the Court’s majority opinion disregarded many of the substantial legal arguments made in this context,” he noted.

“The State of Israel is a law-abiding democracy with an independent legal system. Israel is committed to the fundamental values of international law and is fully capable of examining alleged violations of the law on its own. For this reason as well, there is absolutely no place for the ICC’s intervention in matters that are under the jurisdiction of the State of Israel,” he stated.

“The relevant political and legal authorities in Israel have been closely following for some time the attempts to draw the ICC into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and are fully prepared to deal with any possible developments in the ICC arena. The Attorney General and his team will continue to assist the Israeli Government and Israel’s citizens in addressing any situation arising out of the ICC,” he concluded.

US Opposes Ruling, Has ‘Serious Concerns’

The Biden administration likewise expressed opposition to the ICC’s ruling.

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price issued a statement saying the US does “not believe the Palestinians qualify as a sovereign state, and therefore are not qualified to obtain membership as a state or participate as a state in international organizations, entities, or conferences, including the ICC.”

“We have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel. The US has always taken the position that the court’s jurisdiction should be reserved for countries that consent to it, or that are referred by the UN Security Council,” he stated.

Israel is not a member of the ICC.

Israel’s Ambassador to the US and United Nations Gilad Erdan stated that “Israel completely rejects the distorted and anti-Semitic decision taken by the International Criminal Court.”

“It is no accident that both Israel and the US have refrained from becoming members of this biased and political institution. We are a democratic country with an independent judiciary. The ICC has no jurisdiction whatsoever in this matter,” he said.

“The decision is an attack, not only against Israel but against all democracies, undermining the ability to defend civilians against terrorism. The court was established to investigate the world’s gravest war crimes, but instead it meddles in political disputes, rewarding Palestinian terrorists and pushing the Palestinians further away from the momentum of peace now taking place in our region,” he charged.

NGO Monitor Legal Advisor Anne Herzberg noted that the ICC’s decision “is hardly surprising. The ICC Prosecutor has been gunning for Israel for several years and has been working closely with European-funded terror-linked NGOs to craft bogus indictments against Israeli officials.”

“The fact that Palestine is not a state, that the Oslo Accords expressly prevent the Court from asserting jurisdiction, and that the Prosecutor made up a fake rule to go after the Jewish state, were ignored. And the judges have repeatedly flouted the ICC’s own procedures to try and manufacture a case against Israel.”

Research indicates that ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda colluded with terror-linked NGOs and accepted legal submissions from anti-Israel BDS boycott organizations. NGO Monitor has found that many of these radical groups benefit from European governmental financial support.

European Donors to Terror-Tied NGOS ‘Share Responsibility’

NGO Monitor, together with three other groups, jointly filed an amicus brief with the ICC that lays out the legal and factual flaws behind the argument that the ICC has jurisdiction.

Herzberg added that “in other words, anti-Israel animus and political machinations are more important to the Court than preserving its credibility. European donors of the terror-tied NGOs and the Court share responsibility for this legal travesty.”

“For over six years we have been warning of the danger that resides in The Hague, said Nitsana Darshan Leitner, founder and president of Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center.

“We have repeatedly tested the impartially of the ICC by bringing numerus complaints against hideous war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Palestinian Authority, only to be totally ignored.

“Reading the biased submission of the prosecutor – distorting history and law in order to accept the Palestinian narrative to the conflict and ignoring terror against Israeli men, women and children – we have filed to our submissions to the court. Again, we have been ignored, with no material response given to the cries of the Israeli victims and the Jewish communities that have been forced from their homes which we represented.

“Nothing will change the fact that the ICC lacks both legal jurisdiction and competence to rule on the rights of the sides to the conflict and that its decision disregards both facts and law. We are far from saying our last words on this issue. We shall continue to stand for the rights of Israel, Israeli soldiers and victims of the Palestinian terror. Nothing will stop us, until truth shall triumph.

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