The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague announced on Wednesday that it is officially opening an investigation into Israeli “war crimes” in the “Palestinian territories.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz told Reuters on Tuesday that hundreds of Israelis could face war crimes probes by the ICC, including himself, and he is taking measures to protect them.
The ICC ruled last month that it has jurisdiction to open criminal probes against Israel and the Palestinians for alleged war crimes in the Shomron, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Israel, which is not a member of the court, rejects the ICC’s jurisdiction on the issue.
“I was never afraid to go across enemy lines,” Gantz said. “I will continue to stand wherever I have to. The ICC ruling is a negative development. We have our own teams working in different (places) to try (and) influence (the ICC).”
Gantz said that according to a rough estimate, several hundred Israelis could be subject to arrest if a probe proceeds to criminal investigations. Israel will assist any implicated Israelis by providing them with legal assistance and issuing warnings about travel when necessary.
Gantz was the IDF Chief of Staff during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, one of the conflicts that could be included in a potential ICC probe.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)