ELNET rejects the majority decision by the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to grant the court territorial jurisdiction over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It is deeply troubling that the court’s Chamber disregarded substantial legal arguments and accepted principles of international law brought forward by numerous state Parties, including European countries such as Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. They, as well as many respected legal voices, compellingly argued against the Court’s jurisdiction in this case.
This appears to be a politicized decision in the guise of a legal opinion. Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority (PA) cynically turned to the ICC with the intent of creating a seemingly legal weapon against Israel, including in the case of the 2014 Gaza conflict which was triggered by the firing of rockets into populated Israeli civilian centers by the PA’s archrival, Islamist Hamas.
ELNET strongly believes that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is political in nature and it should be addressed predominantly with political rather than legal tools which force the parties to adopt rigid positions, making it more difficult to advance towards resolution of the conflict.
This misguided decision flies in the face of the renewed momentum in the region resulting from Israeli-Arab normalization which could help create new horizons for Israelis and Palestinians. The decision could also inadvertently provide a tailwind for the extremist campaign to delegitimize Israel and further inflame antisemitic incitement which threatens Jewish communities in Europe.
ELNET will work with its European partners to convey this message to European governments urging them to focus on more constructive ways to achieve stability and peace in the Middle East.