Photo: Getty Images
The International Criminal Court at The Hague.
Photo: Getty Images

New paper reveals Israel's damage control efforts on Palestinian ICC bid

Foreign Ministry report disseminated to all missions abroad outlines Israel's central arguments against ICC preliminary probe into possible war crimes.

A new Foreign Ministry report denounces an International Criminal Court preliminary probe into the "situation in Palestine" to determine if there is a legal basis exists to begin an investigation into alleged war crimes, and seeks to counter the possible fallout for Israel.



The report analyzes the significance and consequences of the decision by the chief prosecutor at the ICC, which, the report claims, shows a partisan leaning at The Hague.


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"The decision of the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in the Hague to forfeit a complicated decision to a political body constitutes a shirking of its responsibility as an independent legal institution and hints at political considerations in the decision," the report reads.


Furthermore, it argues, there had not been sufficient exploration into the consequences of the Palestinians being accepted as signatories to the Rome Statute. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas requested to join the Statute (and a host of other international bodies) in December, and the Palestinian Authority's membership comes into effect on April 1.


Abbas applies to join the Rome Statute. (Photo: EPA)  (Photo: EPA)
Abbas applies to join the Rome Statute. (Photo: EPA)


"At least, the question of the status of the Palestinian entity and the right of Palestinians to join the court is a controversial matter, of which it was reasonable to expect the prosecutor to hold a serious, in-depth discussion with consultations of all the relevant sources. Her decision to avoid that casts doubts over her credibility and hurts the standing of the body which she leads."


The diplomatic echelon is determined that Israel will use all of its capabilities in order to thwart the latest Palestinian gambit. The document details the central messages which the State of Israel will present to the international community in order to avoid being dragged to The Hague.


The report was distributed to Israeli embassies abroad, and includes the central diplomatic and legal arguments against the ICC probe, which will be Israel's focus in the coming weeks and months.


The prosecutor has two central arguments. Firstly, the United Nations secretary-general, who is custodian of the Rome Statute, "received" the Palestinian documents, and secondly that the UN General Assembly has effectively recognized the State of Palestine in its decision to grant it observer status.  


Regarding the first argument, says Israel, the UN Secretary General repeated that fulfilling his duty as custodian of the Convention is a purely technical and administrative function, leaving member states to consolidate their positions regarding the significant legal issues.


When it comes to the second claim, the UN General Assembly cannot from a legal standpoint recognize an entity as a state, nor did it pretend to recognize a Palestinian state, but merely granted the Palestinian status a technical upgrade.


Israel claims that the General Assembly is a political body and not a legal entity, which makes the ICC decision all the more illegitimate.



"The plaintiff's decision to cede what is actually a legal decision to the hands of a political body is shirking (the court's) responsibility as an independent legal entity, and furthermore, suggests the presence of other considerations in its decision, and casts doubt its credibility."


פרסום ראשון: 02.02.15, 08:48
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