Palestine mission: UK PM’s failure to back ICC probe into Israel war crimes ‘regrettable’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Dursun Aydemir - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  April 14, 2021

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of his government’s opposition of the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into war crimes committed by Israel is “deeply regrettable”, the Palestinian Mission to the UK said in a press release today.

In a letter to the Conservative Friends of Israel, Johnson wrote: “We oppose the ICC’s investigation into war crimes in Palestine.”

“We do not accept that the ICC has jurisdiction in this instance, given that Israel is not a party to the Statute of Rome and Palestine is not a sovereign state.”

He added: “This investigation gives the impression of being a partial and prejudicial attack on a friend and ally of the UK’s.”

In response, the Palestinian Mission to the UK said: “It marks a low point in UK-Palestine relations and undermines the UK’s credibility on the international stage.”

“The letter is a contradiction of international law. It is a contradiction of British policy. It subverts the rules-based global order. And it sets back efforts to secure a lasting and just peace in Palestine.”

“It is clear that the UK now believes Israel is above the law.”

Moreover, the statement continued, Johnson contradicts stated British policy, which is clear that settlements are a violation of international law and therefore a war crime.

On 3 March, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced the international court planned to open an official investigation into possible war crimes by Israel committed in the occupied West Bank and blockaded Gaza Strip.

Calling for the investigation to be carried out in full, the Palestinian Mission said: “If Israel is not held responsible for its actions, it has no incentive to comply with international law. If “friends and allies” are exempt from international law, there is no foundation for the rules-based global order.”