Palestine slams UK support for Israeli snub of ICC

Palestine slams UK support for Israeli snub of ICC
The Palestinian diplomatic mission to the UK accused Boris Johnson of 'contradicting international law'.
2 min read
16 April, 2021
The ICC probe will primarily examine the 2014 Gaza war [Getty]
The Palestinian diplomatic mission to the UK said this week that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sent a message to the world that "Israel is above the law"

The mission was responding to a letter by Johnson to the Conservative Friends of Israel group opposing an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into war crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territories

The British premier argued that the Hague-based court has no jurisdiction "given that Israel is not a party to the Statute of Rome and Palestine is not a sovereign state". Palestine is subject to the Rome Statute, however.

Johnson also claimed the war crimes investigation appeared to be a "prejudicial attack" against Israel. However, the ICC probe will examine alleged war crimes by both Israeli and Palestinian forces.

"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," the Palestinian mission said in a statement.

"It is clear that the UK now believes Israel is above the law. There is no other interpretation of a statement that gives carte blanche to Israel to continue its illegal settlement project in occupied territory," the statement continued

Palestine's status as a signatory to the Rome Statute means it has "every right" to pursue justice for alleged war crimes, the mission said.

"If Mr Johnson disputes this, he disputes the legitimacy of the [ICC]," the statement said.

The mission called on the UK government to reconsider its opposition to the probe and display a "firm commitment to international law".

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced last week the country would not cooperate with the ICC investigation.

Netanyahu, a vocal critic of the ICC, has said the decision to open the probe was the "essence of anti-Semitism" and declared Israel was "under attack". 

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