ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda

Following the announcement on Friday that the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague would be investigating the Israeli military for war crimes against the Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a statement claiming the ICC had ‘no jurisdiction’ to charge Israel.

According to Netanyahu, because Israel never signed on to be a member of the ICC, the Counrt had “no jurisdiction in this case”. He further claimed that the ICC was being used as a “political tool to delegitimize the State of Israel”.

The war crimes charge against the Israeli military was submitted by the Palestinian Authority in 2015, following an invasion by Israel into the Palestinian Territory of the Gaza Strip that resulted in Israeli forces killing more than 1400 Palestinian civilians.

The Chief Prosecutor at the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, has looked into the charges and has found enough of a factual basis to move forward with an investigation of the state of Israel for war crimes.

In her ruling, Ms Bensouda said a preliminary examination had gathered enough information, and that the criteria had been met to open an investigation.

Ms. Bensouda added that she was “satisfied that there [was] a reasonable basis to proceed” with an inquiry.

“[T]here are no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve the interests of justice”, she said.

Ms. Bensouda had also submitted an inquiry with the judges on the court as to what territory the investigation would cover.

Israel has occupied the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem since a 1967 war, and has occupied those territories with martial law since then. Palestinians living in the Territories have been denied the right to self-determination.