(February 8, 2021 / JNS) Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday, where he thanked Blinken for American support in the wake of the International Criminal Court’s decision to open a war-crimes case against Israel.
“I spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and thanked him for the administration’s public support of Israel in the face of the outrageous decision by judges of the ICC,” Ashkenazi said on Twitter. “I emphasized to the Secretary of State that the tribunal’s decision is fundamentally wrong, discriminatory, and that it jeopardizes the rare opportunity to promote peace in our region.”
A three-judge panel ruled that Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem are within its jurisdiction, as “Palestine [is] a State party to the ICC Rome Statute.” The 2-1 decision cleared the way for ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to open a war-crimes probe into actions as the Israel Defense Forces.
Shortly after the ruling, the U.S. State Department condemned the decision, noting that the Palestinians do not qualify as a sovereign state and that America has “serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel.”
Ashkenazi also said the two discussed “joint efforts” to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and its destabilizing regional activities.
U.S. President Joe Biden told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that he would not lift sanctions on Iran as a way of persuading it to return to the negotiating table, and that it would have to first cease enriching uranium.
The call between Ashkenazi and Blinken was the second since he took office, while Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have yet to speak. On Monday, Netanyahu dismissed concern over the lack of communication so far, assuring that the U.S.-Israel alliance “is strong.”
Jewish News Syndicate
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