Netanyahu tries to rally global opposition to ICC case


Associated Press  / January 26, 2020

Israel’s prime minister is calling on the world to take ‘concrete actions’ ahead of possible war crimes case.

President Donald Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in Washington last March. Mr Netanyahu has praised Mr Trump for criticising the ICC and called on others to follow suit. AP

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling on the world to take “concrete actions” against the International Criminal Court ahead of a possible war crimes case against Israel.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said last month that there was a “reasonable basis” to open a war crimes probe into Israeli military actions in the Gaza Strip and Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank.

She asked the court to determine whether she has territorial jurisdiction before proceeding with the case.

Israel, which is not a member of the ICC, said the court has no jurisdiction and accused Ms Bensouda of being driven by anti-Semitism.

In an interview with Christian network TBN to be aired on Tuesday, Mr Netanyahu praised US President Donald Trump for criticising the ICC and called on others to follow suit.

“I think that everybody should rise up against this,” he said. “I urge all your viewers to do the same and to ask for concrete actions, sanctions against the international court, its officials, its prosecutors, everyone.”

“They’re basically in a full frontal attack on the democracies, both on the democracies’ right to defend themselves, and on Israel’s right, the Jewish people’s right, to live in their ancestral homeland, the land of Israel,” he said.

There was no immediate reaction from Ms Bensouda. But in a recent interview, she told the Israeli news site, Times of Israel, that accusing her of anti-Semitism was “particularly regrettable” and “without merit.”

The court said that its officials “will continue to do their work in accordance with the mandate bestowed upon them” to uphold of the rule of law.

The TBN interview came before a gathering in Jerusalem on Thursday where dozens of world leaders are to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, one of the Nazis’ death camps, and to speak out against anti-Semitism.

Mr Netanyahu is expected to use the gathering to try to rally international opposition to the ICC case against Israel.

ICC judges at The Hague on Tuesday delayed the case when they asked Ms Bensouda to resubmit her jurisdiction request because it was too long. The judges have 120 days to rule after they receive the new request.