TEL AVIV – Hamas over the weekend praised the International Criminal Court’s decision to investigate alleged war crimes by both Israel and the terror group itself.
The ICC’s top prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said Friday that there is a “basis” to probe Israel’s actions in the Palestinian territories. However, she added that there was also a “reasonable basis” to believe Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups were guilty of war crimes over torture and targeting civilians.
Both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority seemed to have missed the memo over the last part with the release of statements praising the move.
“The Hamas movement welcomes the decision of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into war crimes committed by the occupation against Palestinian people,” the terror group’s spokesman Hazem Qassem told AFP.
“The importance of this decision lies in the actual beginning of the procedures of this decision and the start of the penalization of the occupation for all the crimes it committed against Palestinian people,” he added.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas called it a “great” and “historic” day.
“We have achieved what we want, and from this day on, the ICC machine will start accepting the cases that we have previously presented,” the PA’s news agency Wafa quoted him as saying.
Bensouda said the Hague-based court will investigate Israel’s actions in the West Bank, particularly vis-a-vis its settlement policies, as well as alleged war crimes in the 2014 war with Hamas in Gaza and its actions regarding the violent weekly protests on the Gaza border.
Israeli officials slammed the ICC over the move. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it “a dark day for truth and justice.” He added that Bensouda “entirely ignored serious judicial arguments we presented” and that the ICC was nothing more than a “political tool” against Israel.
The ICC “has no authority to adjudicate the matter. It has jurisdiction only in lawsuits presented by sovereign states, but there has never been a Palestinian state. We will not accept or acquiesce to this injustice. We will continue to fight it with all the tools at our disposal,” the prime minister said.
He also denounced Bensouda’s opinion that “it is a crime, a war crime, for Jews to live in their homeland, the land of the Bible, the land of our forefathers.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the probe “unfairly targets” Israel.
Israeli officials also condemned the Palestinians for demanding that the ICC probe Israel.
“There is a Palestinian effort to criminalize the conflict, where only the Israelis have legal obligations and only the Palestinians have rights. But as history has shown, that will only drive the two sides further apart,” the Foreign Ministry’s legal adviser, Tal Becker, said.
Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein said the ICC’s move was motivated by “raw anti-Semitism.”
Commenting on Bensouda’s decision, Klein writes:
The IDF operates in a complex theater in which Palestinian terrorists use civilians as human shields, deliberately house their terrorist infrastructures in densely populated civilian areas and indiscriminately fire projectiles into Jewish civilian population zones.
Still, the IDF goes to extreme lengths to ensure the protection of Palestinian civilians even though terrorists intentionally surround themselves with civilians to thwart Israeli operations because they know that Israel is a beacon of morality.
Let’s not forget why the Gaza War was launched in the first place. Hamas repeatedly violated a truce by firing scores of rockets from Gaza into Israeli civilian population zones. In one day alone, July 8, Hamas launched 40 rockets into Israel, prompting Israeli retaliation and the start of the conflict.
By claiming that Israel’s self-defense is “disproportionate,” what exactly is the ICC trying to say? That instead of acting to minimize the terrorist threat against its civilians, Israel should respond to every act of Palestinian terrorism with an equivalent act? So if Hamas fires a rocket into a Jewish city, Israel should respond in kind by indiscriminately launching a terror rocket into a Palestinian city with the intent of killing civilians? That the next time a Palestinian stabs an Israeli, the Jewish state should send one of its own into Ramallah to stab a Palestinian civilian? The ICC charge is preposterous, nonsensical and negates Israel’s ability to defend itself and degrade Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure.