ICC says it has jurisdiction in Palestinian territories

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The Hague

The judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday found the court has jurisdiction over war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories, paving the way for a possible criminal investigation, despite Israel’s objections.

The decision prompted swift reactions from both Israel, which is not a member of the court and rejects its jurisdiction, and the Palestinian Authority, which welcomed the ruling. The United States objected to the decision.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the decision, saying in a video statement: “When the ICC investigates Israel for fake war crimes, this is pure antisemitism.”

He condemned the court for investigating Israel when it “defends itself against terrorists” while refusing to investigate what he said were brutal dictatorships in Iran and Syria that committed horrific atrocities almost daily.“We will fight this perversion of justice with all our might,” Netanyahu said in the video, shaking a fist.

Human Rights Watch called the decision “pivotal” and said it “finally offers victims of serious crimes some real hope for justice after a half century of impunity,” said Balkees Jarrah, associate international justice director.

“It’s high time that Israeli and Palestinian perpetrators of the gravest abuses — whether war crimes committed during hostilities or the expansion of unlawful settlements — face justice.