San Francisco Chronicle
ICC launches war crimes probe of Israel
The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor on Wednesday launched an investigation into alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories, turning the tribunal’s focus toward Israeli military actions and settlement construction on lands captured in the 1967 Mideast war.
The decision dealt an embarrassing blow to the Israeli government, which had conducted an aggressive public relations and behindthescenes diplomatic campaign to block the investigation. It also raised the possibility of arrest warrants being issued against Israeli officials suspected of war crimes, making it potentially risky to travel abroad.
“The state of Israel is under attack this evening,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a videotaped statement. “The biased international court in the Hague made a decision that is the essence of antiSemitism and hypocrisy.”
Wednesday’s decision turns the court’s focus toward two key Israeli policies of recent years: its repeated military operations against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, highlighted by a devastating 2014 war, and its expansion of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.