Israel Praises Germany For Saying ICC Has No Jurisdiction

The headquarters of the ICC in The Hague. (Vincent van Zeijst)

Israel welcomed a petition by Germany to the International Court of Justice that it has no right to adjudicate the situation in Yehudah and Shomron. In a statement, Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz said that “Israel sees the fact that numerous important countries, along with well-known legal experts and various organizations have taken a stand that the International Court of Justice does not have a right to adjudicate in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. This is a stance that lines up with international law and prevents politicization of the court.”

A spokesperson for the German Embassy in Holland told Yisrael Hayom that his government had indeed told the court that it had no jurisdiction over the issues in the Middle East conflict. The Palestinian Authority, which is attempting to bring charges against Israel in the court, does not have the status of a state, and as such the court cannot adjudicate actions brought by the PA.

Germany is not alone in this stance; both the Czech Republic and Austria have expressed similar dissent. All three have filed requests with the court to present their opinions before any legal action begins. The German request has been approved, and representatives will appear before the court in the coming weeks to present the German opinion, the report said.

The court intends to investigate complaints by the PA of Israeli “war crimes” in Yehudah, Shomron and Gaza, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in November. “I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine,” she said in an official announcement. “There are no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve the interests of justice.”

Bensouda’s comments were roundly condemned by Israeli leaders. State Attorney Avichai Mandelblit rejected the comments, saying there “is no reason for interference by an international court in matters such as these.” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that the decision marked “a dark day for truth and justice. They are turning the court into a political tool against Israel, and to turn the fact that Jews live in the land of their ancestors into a ‘war crime.’”

Foreign Minister Katz said that the decision was “angering and illegal, violating international law. We reject the division and call on other countries to do so, and to halt the process of turning the ICC into a political tool.” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington “firmly opposes this and any other action that seeks to target Israel unfairly. We do not believe the Palestinians qualify as a sovereign state, and they therefore are not qualified to obtain full membership, or participate as a state in international organizations, entities, or conferences,

In its letter to the court, Germany said that “the court’s authority does not extend to the Palestinian territories.” The letter added that despite that, Germany was a strong support of the two-state solution, and that this could only be achieved with negotiations. “The court is not the appropriate forum for such disputes,” the letter added.

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