The International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened the way for investigations into Israel’s alleged war crimes in Palestinian territories. The court’s decision on Friday is considered a major setback for Israel. In this decision, the court decided to include the areas under investigation, which were occupied by Israel in the 1967 war. Now the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, will investigate Israel’s military operations in the Gaza Strip and on the western side.
According to a report by the American TV channel NBC, after the verdict came, Bansouda said that in 2019 itself there was a logical basis for starting the investigation of war crimes. Despite this, he asked the court to decide which areas would come under the scanner before starting the investigation. According to Bensouda, Israel’s military as well as Palestinian factions like Hamas will also be investigated for alleged war crimes.
Palestinian activists took up the matter in 2015 at the ICC. He requested an investigation into Israel’s alleged criminal actions in a 2014 war against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. At the same time, he also appealed for an investigation into the Israeli action to build settlements on the western shore and occupied East Jerusalem. Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem in the 1967 war. Palestinians want to include these areas in their proposed country. Nearly seven million Israelis live in settlements on the western side and in eastern Jerusalem. The greater part of the Palestinian and international communities consider these settlements illegal. These settlements are also considered a major obstacle in the way of peace between Israel and Palestine.
Nabil Shath, senior aide of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called the decision a good news. He said that now the next step is to investigate the ‘crimes of Israel’ against the Palestinian people.
But under the court’s decision, it is likely that the actions of Palestinian militant groups are also investigated. They also include an investigation into Hamas firing on Israeli civilian areas. Hamas is a radical Islamic faction, which rules the Gaza Strip. The US has declared it a terrorist organization.
Israel is not a member of the ICC. He has said that the court has given the decision outside its jurisdiction. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that this decision violates the right of democratic countries to protect themselves against terrorism.
The Biden administration has said it will review those decisions of the Trump administration. But what is his stand on the latest decision about Israel, it is not yet known.
Since Israel is not a member of the ICC, it would be difficult for this court to enforce its decision. The court may nevertheless issue warrants against the officers found guilty. This may make it difficult for those officials to go out of their country. Like Israel, America is not a member of the ICC. Last year, the ICC tried to investigate the role of US troops in Afghanistan. The US then banned many ICC officials. Among them was prosecutor Bensouda. The former Donald Trump administration then canceled Bensouda’s visa last year.