After a lengthy deliberation presided over by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, it has been decided that Israel’s formal response to the International Criminal Court in the Hague will be that it does not recognize the court’s authority to investigate the Jewish State.
The language of the response is intended to be both laconic and noncommittal, in the hopes of allowing for further dialogue.
ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda authorized a probe into alleged Israeli war crimes in Palestinian Authority territories in February.
A three-judge panel ruled that Judea, Samaria, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem are within the jurisdiction of the court.
In a press release, the ICC said that the judges ruled that “the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine, a State party to the ICC Rome Statute, extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”
Israel has consistently rejected the court’s authority to launch such an investigation, arguing that the ICC has no jurisdiction since Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute and Palestine is not a state. In addition, the ICC is only supposed to investigate states that cannot carry out proper internal investigations themselves.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan both called the ICC’s decision to investigate Israel anti-Semitic, noting that the investigation covers the period following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the summer of 2014 but excludes the murders themselves.