Arab states may try to make ICC launch investigation against Israel: Report

Arab nations may try to make the International Criminal Court (ICC) launch a probe against Israel over civilian deaths in Palestine, according to a report.

The Jerusalem Post newspaper writes, “As the conflict extends, there will be a rising tide of demands by the human rights community and many Arab countries for culpability for so many Palestinian civilian deaths.”

It means that the ICC may launch a probe against the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Meanwhile, the paper notes that US President Joe Biden and European leaders are supporting Israel because of “the crimes committed by Hamas fighters and their murder of Israeli civilians”. The fact could impact ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan and the court as “EU countries pay most of its budget”.

The daily also said that the ICC had moved at slow speed in the past. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalated once again in 2014 but “the ICC did not even decide to proceed with a criminal probe against Israel and Hamas until almost seven years later in March 2021”. Khan “mostly ignored the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in public during his first two years in office”.

He takes heed of the political winds regarding where key ICC member nations think his time should be spent. This was one reason he has stayed away from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict until now, the Jerusalem Post added.

The paper says that a ground operation in Gaza and more civilian casualties may weaken international support for Israel.

“If the final scorecard shows 5, 10, or 20 times more dead Palestinian civilians versus Israeli ones, the EU, or enough of it, may back Khan taking a ‘balancing’ approach, going after both sides,” the newspaper concluded.

The ICC prosecutor stated in an interview with Reuters on October 12 that the court had jurisdiction over potential war crimes carried out by Hamas fighters in Israel and Israelis in the Gaza Strip, even though Israel was not a member state. The court has had an ongoing investigation in the Palestinian territories into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity there since 2021, the news agency added. The current violence also falls under its mandate, Khan said, according to Reuters.

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