Occupied Jerusalem (The Inside Palestine)- ‘Israel’ has received a letter from the International Criminal Court formally detailing the scope of its war crimes investigation against ‘Israel’, Channel 13 reported on Wednesday.
According to the report, the letter arrived over the weekend and the National Security Council has already met to begin formulating Israel’s response.
The report said the brief one-and-a-half page letter briefly laid out the three main areas it intends to cover: the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, Israeli settlement policy, and the 2018 Great March of Return protests that left hundreds of Palestinians dead.
Neither ‘Israel’ nor the ICC published the letter or acknowledged it had been sent.
The report said that ‘Israel’ has 30 days to respond, adding that ‘Israel’ is leaning toward doing so after largely refusing to cooperate with The Hague-based international court until now.
However, ‘Israel’ is expected to use its response as an opportunity to once again voice the argument that the ICC has no jurisdiction to hear the case, the report stated.
Earlier this month, a number of officials told Channel 13 that they’re concerned the ICC may already start issuing arrest warrants against former IOF officers in the coming months.
Consequently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz have begun reaching out to counterparts throughout Europe to galvanize support against the case, the Kan public broadcaster reported.
Netanyahu and Gantz have been stressing in those calls that the investigation is biased against ‘Israel’, which has an independent legal system capable of prosecuting any alleged crimes, the report said.
President Reuven Rivlin and IOF chief Aviv Kohavi are now on a three-day tour of Europe aimed at lobbying support for ‘Israel’ over the issue.
“We trust that our European friends will stand by us in the important fight on the misuse of the International Criminal Court against our soldiers and civilians,” Rivlin said during a meeting in Berlin with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
“The fundamental difference between us and our enemies is that while we do everything we can to prevent harming innocent civilians, our enemies do everything they can to harm our civilians, who are entirely innocent. We are in a new era of warfare, which is highly complex, and the ICC must adapt itself to the new reality,” Kohavi said.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda said recently that she launched a formal probe into war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.
“The investigation will cover crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court that are alleged to have been committed in the Situation since 13 June 2014, the date to which reference is made in the Referral of the Situation to my Office,” she added.
‘Israel’ is not a member of the court and rejects its jurisdiction, a position backed by its close ally the United States and other countries who are members of the ICC, including Canada, Australia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Austria, and Lithuania.
Palestinians have welcomed the ruling as a chance for justice for victims of Israeli attacks.
Palestine has asked the court to look into Israeli war crimes during its 2014 war against the Gaza Strip, when the Israelis killed 2147 Palestinians including women and children, and wounded 10870 others, as well as Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem. Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.