Mar 03, 2021 06:17 UTC
  • Tel Aviv trying to ‘influence’ ICC to protect Israelis against war crimes probe

Israel is working to "influence" the International Criminal Court (ICC) in order to protect its forces against possible rulings on war crimes, says the regime’s minister of war.

According to Press TV, in a major decision last month, a pre-trial chamber of the ICC determined that The Hague-based tribunal had jurisdiction to investigate the atrocities committed by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank, the besieged Gaza Strip and East al-Quds since 1967.

In an interview with Reuters on Tuesday, Benny Gantz labeled the ruling as a "negative development," and said, "We have our own teams working in different places to try and influence the ICC."

Gantz was the Israeli military's chief of staff during a 2014 war between the regime and the Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas in Gaza.

The ICC has pointed to that conflict as a potential issue to be probed.

Asked by Reuters how many Israelis, including himself, might expect to be subject to arrest should the probe lead to criminal investigations, Gantz responded, "I guess several hundred, but we will take care of everybody."

Israel’s minister of war added that Tel Aviv would provide legal assistance to any implicated Israelis and would give them legal warnings regarding travel if necessary.

The ICC verdict was condemned by Israel but praised by Palestinians and international rights organizations, paving the way for the court to open a war crimes investigation in the Occupied Territories despite objections from the Tel Aviv regime.

Michael Lynk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, hailed the decision and said the ruling “opens the door” for justice in Palestine.