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Israel issues official protest over ICC’s unusual appeal to ‘Palestinian victims’

“The pretrial judges completely disregarded the fact that the ICC doesn’t have any jurisdiction to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially when the prosecutor hasn’t even taken a decision about the preliminary examination,” a senior Israeli official said.

The International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
The International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Israel has lodged an official protest with the International Criminal Court concerning a recent campaign by the court that cast doubts on its impartiality regarding the Jewish state.

The protest was based on a press release issued in July where three judges, who are members of the court’s pretrial chamber, order the court’s register to “to establish, as soon as practicable, a system of public information and outreach activities for the benefit of the victims and affected communities in the situation in Palestine.”

“The pretrial judges completely disregarded the fact that the ICC doesn’t have any jurisdiction to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially when the prosecutor hasn’t even taken a decision about the preliminary examination,” a senior Israeli official told Israel Channel 10 News. “The eagerness by the judges to take the initiative and make such decisions puts a big question mark on the ICC’s ability to deal with matters related to Israel in a fair manner.”

The Palestinian Authority became part of the ICC in April 2015, and soon filed legal complaints with the court over the 2014 Gaza war and the construction of settlements in Judea and Samaria. Israel, however, is not a member state of the ICC, and the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has not decided yet if the court has any jurisdiction over it.

Bezalel Samotrich, a member of the Knesset’s Jewish Home Party, decried on Wednesday the ICC’s decision and called on the Israeli government to take measures against the Hague court.

“In recent months, Israel largely paralyzed itself in Judea and Samaria due to concern over the court’s decision,” said Smotrich. “It’s good that we’re finally moving from defense to offense. It’s time to fight back and expose the court’s hypocrisy.”

The ICC, which is not affiliated with the United Nations, was founded in 2002 to prosecute those responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity. Israel is not a member of the ICC; therefore, it is not subject to its rulings.

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