March 3, 2021 — New York
American Jewish Committee decried today’s announcement by the International Criminal Court prosecutor to formally open an investigation into “The Situation in Palestine,” with a focus on alleged Israeli crimes in Palestinian territories.
Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s statement referred extensively to the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber decision last month “that the Court may exercise its criminal jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine, and that the territorial scope of this jurisdiction extends to Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.” The probe, she said, will examine “crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court that are alleged to have been committed” since June 13, 2014.
AJC had expressed deep regret over the Pre-Trial Chamber’s February 5 decision, adopted by two in favor to one against, and welcomed the State Department’s expression of “serious concerns” about the Court’s attempted over-reach.
“Prosecutor Bensouda has once again given credence to the myth that the ICC is an appropriate forum to adjudicate Palestinian claims, even though ‘Palestine’ is not a state,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “The ICC has a deep and long record of bias regarding Israel, and undoubtedly spurious allegations will be replayed with predictable results in the new inquiry. Today’s announcement is nothing less than a parting gift of injustice from the outgoing ICC prosecutor, whose term ends June 15.”