Kamala Harris tells Netanyahu; US opposes ICC probe of Israel
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US Vice President Kamala Harris, in a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has reaffirmed the United States’s opposition to an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories, the White House said.
The call, the first between the two since Harris and President Joe Biden took office in January, followed the ICC’s announcement of the investigation on Wednesday.
The court determined in February that the occupied Palestinian territories fall under its jurisdiction, paving the way for an investigation of war crimes committed by Palestinians and Israelis.
Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has promised the inquiry will be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor”. Bensouda, who will be replaced by British prosecutor Karim Khan on June 16, said in December 2019 that war crimes had been or were being committed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Bensouda named the Israel army and armed Palestinian groups such as Hamas as possible perpetrators.
During Thursday’s call, Harris and Netanyahu noted their governments’ “opposition to the International Criminal Court’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel,” the White House said.
A day earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said that Washington “firmly opposes and is deeply disappointed” by the ICC decision.
“Israel is not a party to the ICC and has not consented to the Court’s jurisdiction, and we have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel,” Blinken said in a statement.