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ICC prosecutor ready to probe alleged Israeli war crimes in Palestinian territories

In a bombshell move that was condemned by Israel, the International Criminal Court decided to investigate alleged war crimes committed by both Israelis and Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced last week that she was satisfied there was enough evidence to begin an investigation.

Though Israel does not recognize the ICC, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the announcement it was “a dark day for truth and justice.” One possible outcome could be that Netanyahu himself is charged with war crimes.

The decision to investigate “has turned the International Criminal Court into a political tool to delegitimize the State of Israel. The prosecutor has completely ignored the legal arguments we presented to her,” Netanyahu said. 

Palestinians have been recognized as a member state of the ICC and requested an investigation in 2015 in to alleged violations of international law after the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The prosecutor said the IDF carried out disproportionate attacks in at least three of the cases she examined. She also found that Palestinians “may have” carried out war crimes by launching rockets at Israeli civilians and using their own civilians as human shields.

When responding to potentially deadly rocket attacks against civilian population centers, there is not such thing as a disproportionate response. The rocket attacks are an act of war. Israel’s must protect her citizens. The goal to stop the rocket fire. But everyone know that Israel has used more restraint than another other nation would have used in dealing with acts of war against her. That is why this investigation is such a joke.

When Hamas has used hospitals and kindergartens to launch rockets—human shields—hoping for a deadly Israeli response, that they can use as propaganda, we have exercised restraint. When we do this, we show that we care far more for their children—who are taught to hate us—than they do.

While Israel is being subjected to investigation, other states with massive human rights violations such as Syria, China, Myanmar, Iran, North Korea and many others are not. These countries perpetrate crimes while Israel usually assumes a defensive posture even in the cases under investigation.

“Who are they accusing here? Iran? Turkey? Syria? No — Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. This is terrible hypocrisy,” Netanyahu said.

In the framework of 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, the 50-day war waged against Gaza terrorists, Israel is accused of disproportionate attacks, willful killing and attacking Red Cross personnel or institutions. Hamas and other Palestinian groups are accused of intentionally attacking Israeli civilians, using their own people as human shields, willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment and “outrages upon personal dignity.”

The prosecutor is also investigating whether suspected Palestinian “collaborators” were granted a fair trial before they were executed. She also noted that Israel has investigated its soldiers; conduct while the Palestinians have not.

Bensouda may also investigate shootings by the IDF of Palestinian protesters in the past two years and the building of settlements.

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