Hamas, PA slam Germany for opposing ICC probe into Israeli war crimes

Hamas, PA slam Germany for opposing ICC probe into Israeli war crimes

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement and the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates have denounced remarks by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction over an investigation into Israeli war crimes against Palestinians.

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement and the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates have denounced remarks by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction over an investigation into Israeli war crimes against Palestinians.

“The German president's comment about the lack of jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court to hold the Occupation (Israel) accountable for its crimes is a violation of international law and a flagrant bias in favor of the regime and its aggressive policy against our Palestinian nation,” Hamas spokesman, Hazem Qassem, said in a statement released on Thursday.

He added that Steinmeier’s position “encourages the Occupation to continue its crimes and aggression, and places the [Israeli] regime above the international law.”

Separately, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned the German president's remarks as “departure from the rules of international law, and interference in the work of the ICC as well as its rulings, and the decision of its chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to launch a formal inquiry into Israeli war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories within its jurisdiction.”

“The ICC has exercised its jurisdiction and authority to investigate crimes committed by Israeli officials in the occupied Palestinian territories. The State of Palestine enjoys all rights and duties at the international level, and such rights are not subject to the opinions of the German president or the Berlin government. Palestinian people have the right to self-determination. Palestine has been granted observer State status at the United Nations, and is an active member of international institutions,” it said in a statement.

The ministry went on to call on Steinmeier and the German government “to stop their biased stance, which has given Israel immunity from accountability and punishment, and has put it above the law.”

“Such biased positions encourage Israel to commit its crimes, press ahead with its colonial projects, and consolidate its apartheid regime as well as racial discrimination, while all together deprive Palestinians of their basic rights,” the statement concluded.

Earlier this week, Steinmeier told Israeli Haaretz newspaper that he strongly opposes an investigation into Israeli war crimes against Palestinians. He claimed that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Tel Aviv regime.

“The German government's position is that the International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction in this matter due to the absence of Palestinian statehood,” he claimed.

Back in early March, Bensouda announced in a statement the launch of a war crimes investigation into the Palestinian territories, which have been under Israeli occupation since 1967.

She said her inquiry will be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor.”

The Palestinian Authority (PA) welcomed the prosecutor’s announcement.

It is “a long-awaited step that serves Palestine’s tireless pursuit of justice and accountability, which are indispensable pillars of the peace the Palestinian people seek and deserve”, the PA foreign ministry said in a statement.

Hamas resistance movement also praised the ICC’s move at the time.

“We welcome the ICC decision to investigate Israeli occupation war crimes against our people. It is a step forward on the path of achieving justice for the victims of our people,” Hamas spokesman Qassem said.

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