World, Middle East

US encourages Israel to commit crimes: Hamas

Remarks come after American top diplomat voiced opposition to ICC probe into alleged war crimes committed in Palestine

Muhammed Macid   | 21.12.2019
US encourages Israel to commit crimes: Hamas

GAZA

The U.S. is encouraging Israel to commit crimes by opposing the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) probe into alleged war crimes in Palestine, Hamas said Saturday.

"The attitude of the Washington administration encourages Israel to commit crimes against our people," Hazem Qasim, the group's spokesman, said in a statement.

The remarks came after the U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo voiced opposition to the ICC probe into alleged Israeli war crimes committed in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

"This attitude makes the U.S. a partner in attacks against our people," Qasem added.

In an official statement on Saturday, Pompeo said: “We firmly oppose this and any other action that seeks to target Israel unfairly.”

The American top diplomat also said that Washington did not believe that Palestine qualifies as a "sovereign state", hence it should not be able to "obtain full membership, or participate as a state in international organizations, entities, or conferences, including the ICC."

Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor of ICC, said Friday there is reasonable basis to investigate alleged war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

"In brief, I am satisfied that war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip," she said in a statement, without naming Israel.

Palestinians have long sought to carve out their own nation in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip -- territory captured by Israel in the 1967 war -- as a way to end decades of tensions.

The two-state solution has long had broad international support, including from the U.S., until President Donald Trump came to power in 2017 and made a series of pro-Israel policy shifts.

* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara

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