Hamas yesterday said the Israeli threats against the International Criminal Court are “an example of the Israeli arrogance which the Palestinian people have been suffering from”, the Anadolu Agency reported.
In a statement, the movement said: “The decision of the ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to open a preliminary investigation of the situation in Palestine is a step on the road to prosecute the occupation’s criminals.”
The statement called on Bensouda to continue investigating the Israeli crimes, noting that the success of the investigation will deter the occupation and force it to stop its crimes.
Hamas also called to continue the Palestinian reconciliation efforts to provide a proper environment for unity that ensures the success of the international legal efforts.
On Saturday, Bensouda announced that her office would conduct an “analysis in full independence and impartiality” into war crimes allegations committed against Palestinians by Israel including from the war on Gaza last summer.
The probe is supposed to determine whether there are grounds for full war-crimes investigations.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lambasted the ICC’s decision as “hypocrisy”, vowing to defend Israeli soldiers against any trial. “We will defend Israel’s right to defend itself and not allow IDF soldiers to be tried by an international tribunal,” he said.
“It is a scandal that just a few days after terrorists massacred Jews in France, the general prosecutor of the International Criminal Court opens an examination against the Jewish state because we are defending our citizens against Hamas… whose war criminals fired thousands of rockets at Israeli citizens,” Netanyahu said.
Earlier this month the ICC announced that it had received a request by the Palestinian government accepting the court’s jurisdiction starting from June 13, 2014.