“Any investigation of crimes committed in the Palestinian Territory should focus on the continuous attacks from Gaza against Israeli civilians by Hamas... and the encouragement of terrorism by the PLO in the West Bank...”

Paris, 21 December 2019

Two weeks ago, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre was at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, serving, together with five other NGOs, as “Amicus Curiae” in the “Hearings on the Situation of Afghanistan.”

Under the umbrella of “alleged crimes in Afghanistan” - that implicitly focused on the United States - our hope was to determine the incapacity of the ICC to exercise jurisdiction in the case of non-State parties.

“We had noted that, as the United States and Israel had never joined the ICC - and were thus ‘non-State parties’ - they could not be subject to attack,” stated the Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, continuing, “We were encouraged to believe in the depoliticization of the ICC, in view of:

- In the lead-up to the Hearings, the ICC Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, declared for the third time, ‘there is no reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident off the coast of Israel.’

- A reportedly antisemitic exhibition displayed at the World Forum of the ICC was removed.”

The Centre expressed shock at the Prosecutor’s turn-around, which would seem to contravene the ICC’s own concept of “complementarity” = “The Court is intended to complement, not to replace, national criminal justice systems.”

The Centre added, “Israel is a democracy, where the judiciary is independent, thus maintaining and protecting the rule of law.”

“Any investigation of crimes committed in the Palestinian Territories should focus on the continuous volleys of missiles launched from Gaza against Israeli civilians, the human shields tactics applied by Hamas in Gaza, the encouragement of terrorism by the PLO in the West Bank, the widespread abuse of women and children, the practice of torture, the suppression of freedom of expression, etc.”

“May the ICC truly serve as a politically-free ‘Court of last resort’ for the clearly identifiable victims and not for the perpetrators... the ICC must not be manipulated by Palestine and its supporters,” concluded Samuels.