| 28 May 2024, Tuesday |

No official Israeli response to ICC war crimes probe as deadline ends in 9 days

Israeli senior ministers have yet to meet and discuss the official approach to the International Criminal Court’s, ICC, probe of allegations of war crimes lodged against the country, Jerusalem Post reported.

The government has received official communication from international tribunal three weeks ago and their response is due on April 9, the newspaper added.

The investigation, opened by Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, is expected to include 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, the riots at the Gaza border in 2018 and the continued expansion of Jewish settlements including in east Jerusalem.

Some of the senior officials who could be held accountable for war crimes are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who was Israel Defense Forces chief of staff in 2014, as well as hundreds of IDF officers.

Israel is however not a party to the Rome Statute which established the ICC. The preliminary inquiry was launched by the Palestinian Authority, which is recognized by the ICC as a member state.

Israeli officials have called the investigation illegitimate.

Netanyahu particularly called the probe anti-Semitic and said Jews have the right to live in their historic homeland, the report added.

Meanwhile, Foreign Policy magazine reported that US President Joe Biden plans to repeal an executive order invoked by his predecessor Donald Trump which placed sanctions on Bensouda and a senior aide.

Although the Biden administration strongly opposes the investigation against American troops for alleged war crimes committed against Afghanistan detainees during the early post-9/11 years, it does not want to be perceived as broadly undermining the tribunal.