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Pompeo Warns ICC Against Asserting Authority Over Israel

FILE - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a media briefing at the State Department in Washington, May 6, 2020.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned the International Criminal Court Friday that if it continues to assert authority over Israel, the U.S. will “exact consequences.”

Pompeo’s warning came after the ICC prosecutor decided to consider Palestine a state with the ability to submit complaints that could trigger probes into alleged war crimes it says Israel committed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Pompeo said the U.S. does not “believe the Palestinians qualify as a sovereign state.”

“The United States reiterates its longstanding objection to any illegitimate ICC investigations,” Pompeo added. “If the ICC continues down its current course, we will exact consequences.”

On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of U.S. House and Senate legislators sent separate letters to Pompeo urging him to defend Israel, a firm U.S. ally, against ICC investigations, declaring the ICC’s assertion amounts to a “politicization” of the court’s mission.

ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said late last year her years-long examination into Palestinian affairs provided her with a “reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed” by Israel and Palestinian groups such as Hamas.