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‘Israel’ fears war crimes arrests against top officials after ICC decision

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- The occupation state expressed concern about potential global arrest warrants that could be issued in relation to war crimes after the International Criminal Court (ICC) stated on Friday that it would press ahead with a full investigation into Israel’s conduct in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

With ‘Israel’ planning to refuse to cooperate with the investigation, the occupation state fears top military and political officials could face international arrest warrants, Israeli Channel 12 reported.

Israeli prime ministers, current and former defence ministers, military chiefs and spy chiefs could be included in the warrants. The court only deals with the prosecution of individuals involved in war crimes, not states as a whole.

Private Israeli organizations could potentially defend those prosecuted but the Israeli government would not work with a probe in any formal capacity, according to Israeli media.

Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit of Saturday evening called ICC top prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s decision to move forward with an investigation as “unreasonable” and “rash.”

He claimed ‘Israel’ “is a democratic state of law, obligated and committed to respecting international law and humanitarian values. This commitment has stood strong for decades, through all the challenged and tough times Israel has faced. It is rooted in the character and values of the State of Israel and guaranteed by a strong and independent justice system…there is no place for international judicial intervention in such a situation.”

The ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she is “satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine”.

“In brief, I am satisfied that war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip,” she added.

Benjamin Netanyahu said the decision made the Hague-based court, which Israel has refused to sign up to since its creation in 2002, a “political tool”.

The US also condemned the ICC’s decision.

The occupation state and the United States have both refused to sign up to the court, which was set up in 2002 to be the only global tribunal trying the world’s worst crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The ICC’s preliminary investigation has looked at the 2014 aggression on Gaza, where 2,251 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were murdered in Israeli strikes.

It has also looked at Israeli violence against peaceful protesters near the Gaza border in 2018.

Earlier this month, the ICC prosecutor refused to press charges over a deadly 2010 Israeli raid on a flotilla bringing aid to Gaza, and urged that probe to be shut.

Nine Turkish citizens died in May 2010 when Israeli marines stormed the Mavi Marmara, among eight ships trying to break a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. One more died in hospital in 2014.

The ICC has publicly indicted 44 individuals, issuing arrest warrants for 36 more and summoning 8 others.

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