Israel worried by US plans to lift ICC sanctions
Israel fears ICC will reopen probe into suspicions of Israeli war crimes against Palestinians in 2014
Israel has voiced concern over US plans to lift sanctions imposed on the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the former administration of Donald Trump, according to local media on Wednesday.
The Jerusalem Post newspaper said Washington, by this move, would allow ICC's Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to open a full investigation into suspicions of Israeli war crimes against Palestinians.
The daily warned that the ICC investigation could “come with arrest warrants for prominent Israeli military and diplomatic officials, past and present”.
“We would hope that we can find common ground with the incoming administration,” the newspaper cited an Israeli official as saying. The official said the ICC issue will be one of the main topics to be raised with the Joe Biden administration.
The state-run KAN channel reported on Sunday that the ICC may feel emboldened to open an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Israel during the 2014 war on the Gaza Strip.
A decision to open the investigation has been suspended since December 2019 to avoid a confrontation with the Trump administration, which imposed sanctions on the ICC in June 2020 over its probe into possible US war crimes committed in Afghanistan.
In December 2019, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that the court found sufficient evidence to open an investigation into suspicions of war crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories.
As many as 2,322 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed – and some 11,000 injured – in the 51-day Israeli offensive in 2014.
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Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara