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Israel claims ICC has no jurisdiction over occupied Palestinian territories

December 21, 2019 at 12:21 pm

This picture taken on October 3, 2019 shows Israeli flags flying outside the Knesset (Israeli parliament) headquarters in Jerusalem [EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli attorney general, Avichai Mendelblit, on Friday published a legal opinion claiming that that the “Palestinian actions with respect to the court are legally invalid,” Israeli media reports.

On Friday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced:

I am satisfied that… war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Bensouda disclosed that the preliminary examination into alleged war crimes, opened in 2015, had rendered enough information to meet all criteria for opening an investigation.

According to Haaretz, Mendelblit accused the ICC, to which Israel is not a party, of lacking “jurisdiction in relation to Israel and that any Palestinian actions with respect to the court are legally invalid.”

Read: ICC to investigate alleged war crimes in Palestinian Territories

Mendelblit berated the Palestinian Authority for “purportedly” joining the ICC’s Rome Statutes. Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, also accused the ICC of having no jurisdiction in the case: “The ICC only has jurisdiction over petitions submitted by sovereign states. But there has never been a Palestinian state,” he announced in a statement.

Mandelblit also noted: “Israel has valid legal claims over the same territory in relation to which the Palestinians are seeking to submit to the court’s jurisdiction.”

The Israeli prosecutor claimed that the Palestinians have been seeking to put pressure on the ICC, in order to tackle political issues that could be handled through negotiations.

The Palestinians have asked the ICC to investigate Israeli war crimes committed in the occupied territories, relating to illegal settlements, land expropriation and the killing of civilians during Israeli offensives on Gaza.

The ICC does not investigate states, but officials who are accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Read: Palestine artwork stolen and hidden at the ICC