Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the International Criminal Court (ICC) of anti-Semitism on Sunday over its chief prosecutor’s plan to pursue a war crimes probe in the Palestinian Territories.
Netanyahu was quoted to have said: “New edicts are being cast against the Jewish people – anti-Semitic edicts by the International Criminal Court telling us that we, the Jews standing here next to this wall … in this city, in this country, have no right to live here and that by doing so, we are committing a war crime.”
Netanyahu’s stance is likely to endear him to many Israelis who believe that criticism, especially in Europe, of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians has its roots in anti-Jewish sentiment.
Judicialsketch.com reported tha the Hague-based ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said on Friday she would launch a full investigation into alleged war crimes in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip as soon as the court’s jurisdiction had been established.
Israel captured those areas in the 1967 Middle East war and withdrew troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
Bensouda’s announcement opens the possibility of charges being filed against Israelis or Palestinians. Israeli media, however, largely portrayed it as a bid to subject Israeli leaders and military officers to arrest and trial if they travel overseas.
On the other hand, the Palestinians have welcomed Bensouda’s decision.