International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has announced on Wednesday her intention to open an investigation into crimes allegedly committed in the Palestinian territories since 2014. The investigation is expected to consider possible war crimes by Israel and Hamas during the 2014 war in Gaza, as well as the construction of West Bank settlements by Israel. The investigation will also force the Biden administration to paddle into the Israel-Palestine conflict, which had been very low on its foreign policy priorities list till now. Israel is very concerned that any investigation could lead to international arrest warrants against Israeli officials and military officers and could boost BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel.
The Palestinian foreign ministry welcomed the decision of ICC as an opportunity for justice and accountability and called for a swift investigation. While Israeli President Netanyahu called the investigation an “attack” on Israel and vowed to “fight for the truth. The ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that any investigation undertaken by her Office will be conducted independently, impartially, and objectively, without fear or favor.
The ICC was in process to determine its jurisdiction in the matter of Palestine, where Israeli forces had been involved in serious human rights abuses and war crimes over the years. The Palestinian authority had approached the ICC to investigate the Israeli war crimes in the region. Israel is not the signatory of the Rome Statue; therefore, it does not come under ICC jurisdiction, however, ICC has jurisdiction over Palestinian territory of West Bank and Gaza. After this conclusion by the ICC Committee on February 5, last month. Now, ICC is heading to launch investigation into Israeli war crimes. Israeli government is using all available options to stall these investigations because it will bring real face of Israel in front of World community.
During the first official contact between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in February, Netanyahu asked the Biden to keep sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on the International Criminal Court (ICC) in place, so that the court’s prosecutor could see it as a signal that the U.S. is firmly opposed to the investigation.
In the backdrop of Netanyahu, Biden legacy, besides keeping the sanctions in place on ICC, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, covered extra mileage to appease Israel’s Netanyahu and rebuked the ICC’s decision to investigate the Palestinian situation on yesterday March 4, 2021. Blinken orated, Palestine as a non-sovereign state, he expressed US disappointed over ICC’s decision. He maintained that ICC has no jurisdiction over this matter, because Israel is not signatory to the Rome Statue and showed serious concerns about the ICC’s attempt to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel.
The Israeli US nexus had proved to be the main hurdle to the solution of Palestine issue since its origin in 1948. US government had always put aside the all international norms and laws in protecting Israel at United Nations and other international forums. If Israel had not committed war crimes in the occupied territory then why it fears from ICC’s investigation, it must not object to the ICC’s endeavors in the region, which does not come under its territory. Israel had done unprecedented war crimes on innocent Palestinian people, and the time has come when its godfather will not be able to save it from ICC’s international arrest warrants against Israeli officials and military officers after conclusion of the investigation. Israel must face International BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaigns against it in future.