Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said on Tuesday that ‘Israel’ trust that its European friends will stand by it in the fight against the International Criminal Court decision to probe ‘Israel’ for war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
During a meeting in Berlin with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Rivlin thanked Steinmeier for “his commitment to further deepening relations between the countries” and Germany’s commitment to Israel’s security.
He described the ICC probe of ‘Israel’ a “scandalous” decision and thanked Germany for opposing the investigation.
He also addressed the ICC decision during a joint press conference he gave with Steinmeier.
“We trust that our European friends will stand by us in the important fight on the misuse of the International Criminal Court against our soldiers and civilians,” he said.
IOF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi accompanied Rivlin on the trip to several European countries, including Germany.
“The fundamental difference between us and our enemies is that while we do everything we can to prevent harming innocent civilians, our enemies do everything they can to harm our civilians, who are entirely innocent. We are in a new era of warfare, which is highly complex, and the ICC must adapt itself to the new reality,” Kohavi said during the meeting.
He also told Steinmeier, “your soldiers could face the same problems in other parts of the world, and so your support now is very important for us.”
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.
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.
Steinmeier, meanwhile, called Israel’s normalization deals with Arab countries “nothing less than historic” while noting Israeli concerns over Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.
“The previous American administration’s policy did not, we believe, support positive developments and we hope that we can bring about change in the future with the new administration and our European neighbors,” Steinmeier said.