Middle East Monitor / April 26, 2021
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other politicians in the occupation state have insisted again that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction to investigate possible war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, Haaretz reported on Sunday. Officials from Israel’s Public Prosecution, Justice Ministry, and Military Advocate General’s Corps have apparently presented the state’s position to the ICC through mediators.
According to the newspaper, the officials stressed that the Israel Defence Forces can investigate military actions without the need for the international court to intervene. The Israeli army investigates each incident in which there is a reasonable suspicion that procedures were violated, it is argued, and when necessary put those responsible on trial.
Although the Military Advocate General’s Corps “presented comprehensive records on investigations made following operational incidents in both the West Bank and Gaza that attracted widespread international coverage,” a report in Arab48.com pointed out that the Israeli army and the Israeli courts have never prosecuted any officials in connection with the overwhelming majority of the war crimes committed against the Palestinians. The latter include those during the major Israel offensives on the Gaza Strip and the collective punishments inflicted on the Palestinians who took part in the Great March of Return protests.
The Arabic news website, which is run by Arab Israeli citizens, said that IDF criminals are always acquitted in any investigation which is conducted.
Along with Israel’s public and behind-the-scenes efforts to halt the ICC investigation, Haaretz said, the Military Advocate General’s Corps provides legal representation to military figures who might be affected personally if it goes ahead. There are concerns that countries which are party to the ICC could issue arrest warrants for hundreds of Israelis, including defence ministers and current and former senior IDF officers.