The International Criminal Court in The Hague decided this week that it will probe Israel and Hamas over alleged war crimes committed during the 2014 Gaza war. The swift condemnation of that decision by the Biden Administration did much to ease concerns that it would be less protective of Israel than was the Trump Administration.
See related: Trump Admin Warns ICC to Keep Its Hands Off Israel
“We firmly oppose and are disappointed by the ICC prosecutor’s announcement of an investigation into the Palestinian situation,” said US State Department spokesman Ned Price. “We will continue to uphold our strong commitment to Israel and to its security, including by opposing actions that seek to target Israel unfairly.”
The remarks were later echoed on Twitter by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
The United States firmly opposes an @IntlCrimCourt investigation into the Palestinian Situation. We will continue to uphold our strong commitment to Israel and its security, including by opposing actions that seek to target Israel unfairly.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) March 4, 2021
Price went on to point out that Israel is not party to the Rome Statute that created the ICC, and that while the Palestinians did sign that agreement, they are not a sovereign state. Given both conditions, it is dubious whether or not the ICC has jurisdiction to investigate and try the matter.
The US is also not party to the Rome Statute, but has nevertheless been targeted by the ICC for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan. That and the ICC’s targeting of Israel lead the Trump Administration to sanction the court and its top prosecutor. The Biden Administration said that it was still debating whether or not to lift those sanctions.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu labeled the ICC decision nothing short of a duplicitous, antisemitic attack on the Jewish state.
“This court, that was established to prevent the repetition of the Nazi horrific crimes committed against the Jewish people, is now turning its guns against the one and only state of the Jewish people,” said the Israeli leader in a video response posted to social media. “It’s targeting Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. But of course it turns a blind eye to Iran, Syria and the other dictatorships that are committing real war crimes left and right.”
Israel President Reuven Rivlin called the ICC decision “scandalous,” and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi slammed it as “an act of moral and legal bankruptcy.”
Ashkenazi added that “the fact that the murderous terror group Hamas is praising the decision indicates more than anything that it lacks any moral validity.”
Read more on this topic:
- ICC Decision to Investigate Israel Lessens the Prospects of Peace
- Exposed: Demonization Campaign Against Israel
- ANALYSIS: The Real Reason the ICC is Now Targeting Israel