ICC probe into alleged Israeli war crimes 'blatant anti-Semitism', says Netanyahu

ICC probe into alleged Israeli war crimes 'blatant anti-Semitism', says Netanyahu
Israel's embattled prime minister has slammed an ICC probe into alleged Israeli war crimes, calling the investigation 'blatant anti-semitism'.
2 min read
25 December, 2019
Netanyahu likened the ICC's probe of Israeli crimes to anti-Semitism [AFP]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday reiterated his condemnation after the International Criminal Court (ICC) took a major step towards opening an investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestine.

"The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague is regressing and on Friday, it has finally become a political weapon against the State of Israel. In the prosecutor's decision against Israel there are three absurdities", Netanyahu said.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Friday announced she had asked judges to determine the geographical jurisdiction of any future probe.

Read more: ICC to investigate Israeli 'war crimes' against Palestinians

In remarks at a weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, Netanyahu said the decision was a "horrible hypocrisy."

According to Reuters, Netanyahu also slammed the decision as "blatant anti-Semitism."

"New decrees are imposed on the Jewish people. Anti-Semitic decrees of the International Court telling us, the Jews standing by this wall, by this mountain, in this city, in this land, that we have no right to live here, and that if we live here we commit war crimes. Blatant anti-Semitism," he said at the first Hanukkah candlelighting.

He made his remarks alongside United States Ambassador David Friedman at the Western Wall.

The ICC announcement ended years of preliminary investigations, which began in 2015 at the Palestinians' request, into alleged crimes by both Israeli forces and Palestinians and signalled Bensouda was preparing to open a formal probe.

"I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine," she said in a statement.

But the land dispute after Israel illegally occupied the West Bank in 1967 at the heart of the decades-old conflict has never been resolved and could further delay the launch of any criminal probe.  

Israel is not a member of the ICC and does not recognise its jurisdiction.

Netanyahu outlined what he called three "absurdities" in the prosecutor's decision, including claiming it "acts against the Jews' rights to settle in the Jewish homeland".

Ofir Akunis, Israeli Minister of Science, Technology and Space, accused Bensouda of holding an "anti-Israel position" and suggested she lived "in outer space".

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