Israeli soldiers ride a tank after returning to Israel from Gaza.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement on Friday condemning the International Criminal Court for its decision to launch an initial inquiry into war crimes allegedly committed by Israel during its offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip this past summer.
“It is absolutely scandalous that just days after terrorists butchered Jews in France, the general prosecutors is beginning an inquiry against the state of the Jews, and this only because we defend our citizens from Hamas, a terrorist organization that is allied with the Palestinian Authority.”
“Hamas war criminals fired thousands of rockets at Israeli citizens,” the prime minister said. “Unfortunately, [this probe] renders [the ICC] part of the problem, and not part of the solution.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman also blasted the decision.
In a statement released to the press, Liberman termed the move “scandalous,” calling it a ploy to “try and harm Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism.”
“This same court which after more than 200,000 deaths didn’t see fit to intervene in what was taking place in Syria or in Libya or in other places now finds it worthwhile to ‘examine’ the most moral army in the world,” the foreign minister said. “This decision entirely stems from anti-Israel political considerations.”
“The apparent symmetry created between the two sides is a ruse whose goal is to target Israel since it is clear to everyone that it is impossible to compare the IDF, which does all it can to avoid harming innocent civilians in contrast to terror groups who fire on populated areas in order to hit civilians,” Liberman said.
“We will act in the international arena in order to bring about the dismantlement of this court, which is an organization that epitomizes hypocrisy and gives a boost to terrorism,” the foreign minister said.
The joint Labor-Hatnua campaign headed by Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog released a statement on Friday vowing to resist any attempts by the International Criminal Court to haul Israeli officials and soldiers onto the dock for war crimes if elected.
“A government headed by us will stand steadfastly against any unilateral move by the Palestinian Authority and it will fiercely oppose legal measures brought forward by the International Criminal Court,” the statement read. “We will know how to enlist the support of the international community in order to give us the needed diplomatic umbrella that will enable the army to take action and grant our soldiers and commanders a legal bulletproof vest.”