The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor announced Wednesday an investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories.
Fatou Bensouda said the probe would follow a “principled, non-partisan approach” and examine alleged crimes dating back to June 2014.
“In the end, our central concern must be for the victims of crimes, both Palestinian and Israeli, arising from the long cycle of violence and insecurity that has caused deep suffering and despair on all sides.”
Bensouda, who will be replaced by British prosecutor Karim Khan in June, said in 2019 that war crimes had been or were being committed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with both the militant group Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces as possible perpetrators.
Wednesday’s announcement drew criticism from Israel and the United States, while the Palestinians and human rights groups praised the move.
“The state of Israel is under attack this evening,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a videotaped statement. “The biased international court in the Hague made a decision that is the essence of anti-Semitism and hypocrisy.”
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the United States opposes “actions that seek to target Israel unfairly.”
The Palestinian Authority urges states to “refrain from politicizing these independent proceedings.”
“This long-awaited step serves Palestine's vigorous effort to achieve justice and accountability as indispensable bases for peace,” the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said.