Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused the International Criminal Court of alleged anti-Semitism after its chief prosecutor said the Hague-based court would launch a war crimes probe in the Palestinian territories.
As Reported by Qods News Agency (Qodsna) “New edicts are being cast against the Jewish people - anti-Semitic edicts by the International Criminal Court telling us that we... are committing a war crime,” he said Sunday.
“Pure anti-Semitism,” Netanyahu added.
His furious response came after the ICC said Friday it would launch a full investigation into war crimes in the Palestinian territories as soon as the court’s jurisdiction had been established.
ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda expressed her satisfaction with a "reasonable basis" to probe into the situation in Palestine.
Netanyahu’s remarks centered on a scenario in which Israeli settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds could be viewed by the ICC as war crimes.
The probe focuses on Israel's illegal settlements, the 2014 Gaza War as well as the bloody crackdown on the March of Return Gaza protests that began in March 2018.
Israel has, in recent months, stepped up its settlement expansion in the occupied lands in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.
About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian lands.
ICC prosecutors have said a preliminary investigation on the West Bank focused on “reported settlement-related activities engaged in by Israeli authorities”.
A UN fact-finding mission said in March that Israeli forces committed rights violations during their crackdown against Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip last year that could amount to “war crimes.”
Gaza, with a population of more than 1.8 million, has been under siege by the Israeli regime since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
Israel, which is not a party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, has already said the international court has no authority to hear Palestine’s allegations since “it is not a country,” and because Israel’s so-called judicial system is independent and can
itself examine war crime accusations.