Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to hold a meeting on Tuesday to determine whether ‘Israel’ should participate in the ICC’s war crimes investigation or boycott it, Israeli media reported.
The occupation state has until April 9 to respond to an ICC letter, which it received last month informing it that a war crimes investigation had been opened.
The one-and-a-half page letter briefly laid out the three main areas it intends to cover: the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, Israeli settlement policy, and the 2018 Great March of Return protests that left hundreds of Palestinians dead.
The Jerusalem Post reported last week that no meeting had been held on the matter.
However, Israeli media reported that Tuesday’s meeting will include officials from the Justice Ministry and the Defense Ministry, as the occupation state at present has no justice minister.
‘Israel’ is expected to use its response as an opportunity to once again voice the argument that the ICC has no jurisdiction to hear the case.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda said recently that she launched a formal probe into war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.
“The investigation will cover crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court that are alleged to have been committed in the Situation since 13 June 2014, the date to which reference is made in the Referral of the Situation to my Office,” she added.
‘Israel’ is not a member of the court and rejects its jurisdiction, a position backed by its close ally the United States.
Palestinians have welcomed the ruling as a chance for justice for victims of Israeli attacks.
Palestine has asked the court to look into Israeli war crimes during its 2014 war against the Gaza Strip, when the Israelis killed 2147 Palestinians including women and children, and wounded 10870 others, as well as Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem. Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.
Several Israeli officials condemned the ICC’s decision, calling it a “pure anti-Semitism”, “grave”, and “unauthorized”.