Alwaght- The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) probe into war crimes committed by Israeli regime in Palestine, describing it “a long overdue step to move the process forward towards an investigation, after nearly five long and difficult years of preliminary examination”.
Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor of ICC, said Friday there was reasonable basis to investigate alleged war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.
"In brief, I am satisfied that war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip," she said in a statement, without naming Israeli regime.
Bensouda said she has now asked judges to outline the geographic scope of an investigation.
“Specifically, I have sought confirmation that the ‘territory’ over which the Court may exercise its jurisdiction, and which I may subject to investigation, comprises the West Bank, including [occupied] East Jerusalem (al-Quds), and Gaza,” she said.
The announcement ended years of preliminary investigations into crimes by Israeli occupation forces and signaled that Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda was preparing to open a formal probe.
Turkey also welcomed the move, saying "It is essential to bring Israel to account for the crimes committed in Palestine and the human rights violations it is responsible for and to provide international protection to Palestinians for ending the decades-long injustice in Palestine," Anadolu Agency cited Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy as saying on Saturday.
"Otherwise, Israel will continue to commit these crimes with impunity due to the unconditional support of some third countries," Aksoy added.
The announcement drew swift condemnation from Israeli regime, with premier Benjamin Netanyahu calling it “a dark day for truth and justice”.
Tel Aviv's staunch ally, the US, has also opposed the ICC's investigation, with secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying, “We firmly oppose this and any other action that seeks to target Israel unfairly.”
“We do not believe the Palestinians qualify as a sovereign state, and they therefore are not qualified to obtain full membership, or participate as a state in international organizations, entities, or conferences, including the ICC.”
At the Palestinians’ request, ICC opened a preliminary investigation in 2015 into violations of international law following Israeli regime's 2014 aggression against the besieged Gaza Strip.
In recent years, Palestinians have sought to hold the Israeli regime accountable for violations of international law, including the construction and expansion of Jewish colonies in the occupied West Bank and east al-Quds (Jerusalem).