In Brief

Benjamin Netanyahu calls for uprising against International Criminal Court

Chief ICC prosecutor wants to investigate allegations of war crimes in West Bank and Gaza

Benjamin Netanyahu has called for an uprising against the International Criminal Court and its staff, after its chief prosecutor announced she would investigate alleged Israeli war crimes.

“I think that everybody should rise up against this,” the Israeli prime minister told a Christian television network.

“The US government under president Trump has spoken forcefully against the ICC for this travesty, and I urge all your viewers to do the same. To ask for concrete actions, sanctions, against the international court – its officials, its prosecutors, everyone.”

He claimed the ICC was launching a “full frontal attack on… democracies’ right to defend themselves and on Israel’s right, the Jewish people’s right, to live in their ancestral homeland, the land of Israel”.

Netanyahu also invoked the Holocaust, saying: “A third of the Jewish people went up in flames. There was nothing we could do. Now, after the Holocaust, the State of Israel was established and the attempts to destroy the Jewish people have not disappeared.”

The Israeli prime minister was enraged when Fatou Bensouda announced last month that she would seek to open a formal inquiry into allegations of on-going war crimes in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

She said the inquiry would examine alleged crimes carried out by both Israelis and Palestinian armed groups, including Hamas, which has been accused of “intentionally directing attacks against civilians”.

Although she has yet to respond to Netanyahu’s latest comments, in a recent interview she told the Israeli news site Times of Israel that accusing her of anti-Semitism was “particularly regrettable” and “without merit.”

The Guardian says the Netanyahu is following a “similar tactic” from the Trump administration, which blocked a potential ICC investigation into its own troops’ conduct in Afghanistan, denying entry to the US by ICC officials, and later revoking a visa held by Bensouda.

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