Washington “strongly” disagreed with the decision by International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to begin an inquiry into alleged war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza during the two-month Israel-Hamas war last summer and would continue to oppose this decision, said State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke in a statement released late Friday.
“As we have said repeatedly, we do not believe that Palestine is a state and therefore we do not believe that it is eligible to join the ICC,” said the statement. “It is a tragic irony that Israel, which has withstood thousands of terrorist rockets fired at its civilians and its neighborhoods, is now being scrutinized by the ICC. The place to resolve the differences between the parties is through direct negotiations, not unilateral actions by either side.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the ICC prosecutor’s decision was “absolutely scandalous.” He said: “Just days after terrorists butchered Jews in France, an inquiry is launched against the state of the Jews only because we defend our citizens from Hamas, a terrorist organization allied with the Palestinian Authority, and whose war criminals fired thousands of missiles at Israeli citizens.”