German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said that he strongly opposes an investigation into Israeli war crimes against Palestinians. He claimed that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction over the occupation state.
"The German government's position is that the International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction in this matter due to the absence of Palestinian statehood," Steinmeier told Haaretz on the eve of his visit to Israel due to start on Wednesday evening. "Germany nevertheless respects the independence of the International Criminal Court and its prosecuting authority."
He added that it is up to the new chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, to decide how the investigations should proceed in line with the legal framework that governs his mandate. "Israel has repeatedly experienced discrimination and pressure in its dealings with the United Nations and associated organisations, giving it a much more sceptical perspective. It has much greater confidence in itself than in international organisations."
When asked about the US rejoining the nuclear deal with Iran, Steinmeier said that Israel's concerns about the threat posed by an Iran aspiring to nuclear arms are justified. "I have been constantly aware of these concerns throughout many years of difficult negotiations with Iran. When it comes to Iran, Germany and Israel share a common strategic goal: Iran must not acquire nuclear weapons. We also want to restrict Iran's missile programme and its destabilising activities in the region."
The German president acknowledged that not everyone will agree on the best way to achieve this. "However, we believe that renewing the JCPOA [the 2015 international nuclear agreement with Iran] is the most effective way to demonstrably and verifiably prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb."
In closing, he expressed his hope that the ongoing intensive talks on the issue will succeed.