Israel lobbies foreign powers to cut ICC funding

Netanyahu had called US Secretary of State John Kerry and asked him to interfere to prevent the court from launching the inquiry, Channel 2 said.

Israel lobbies foreign powers to cut ICC funding

World Bulletin/News Desk

Israel is lobbying member-states of the International Criminal Court to cut funding for the tribunal in response to its launch of an inquiry into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories, officials said on Sunday.

The decision came after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in the absence of peace talks and against strong opposition from Israel and the United States, requested ICC membership, which comes into effect on April 1.

Israel, which like the United States does not belong to the ICC, hopes to dent funding for the court that is drawn from the 122 member-states in accordance with the size of their economies, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday.

"We will demand of our friends in Canada, in Australia and in Germany simply to stop funding it," he told Israel Radio.

"This body represents no one. It is a political body," he said. "There are a quite a few countries - I've already taken telephone calls about this - that also think there is no justification for this body's existence."

He said he would raise the matter with visiting Canadian counterpart John Baird on Sunday.

Another Israeli official told Reuters that a similar request was sent to Germany, traditionally one of the court's strongest supporters, and would also be made to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is separately visiting Jerusalem and whose nation is the largest contributor to the ICC.

Netanyahu asks US to stop ICC inquiry

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on the United States to interfere to prevent the International Criminal Court (ICC) from conducting an inquiry into the situation in the Palestinian territories, Israeli media reported Saturday.

Netanyahu had called US Secretary of State John Kerry and asked him to interfere to prevent the court from launching the inquiry, Channel 2 said.

ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced on Friday that the court had opened a preliminary investigation into the "situation in Palestine" after the Palestinian government accused Israel of committing war crimes against the Palestinian people.

Bensouda said that her examination would be conducted "in full independence and impartiality," a decision that has been slammed as "shameful" by the Israeli government.

The Palestinian government acceded to the Rome Statute on January 2 of this year, and the Hague-based court accepted its jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed in "occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, since June 13, 2014."

The US Department of State on Friday expressed opposition to the decision of the ICC prosecutor.

"Israel rejects the absurd decision of the ICC prosecutor," Netanyahu was quoted by his office as saying on Saturday.

"It's absurd for the ICC to ignore international law and agreements, under which the Palestinians don't have a state and can only get one through direct negotiations with Israel."

Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Ya'alon, meanwhile, criticized the ICC decision, describing it on Twitter as a "hypocritical" one that condones terrorism instead of fighting it.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Ocak 2015, 12:21