Palestine has said that relations with Britain have reached a “low point” after Boris Johnson announced that he opposed an international criminal court investigation into alleged war crimes in the Israeli-occupied territories.
The Prime Minister’s comments, in a letter to the pressure group Conservative Friends of Israel in the UK, he said that while his government had “respect [for] the independence ”of the court, objected to this particular investigation into Israel.
“This investigation gives the impression of being a partial and damaging attack on a friend and ally of the UK,” he wrote.
On a statement posted on the website of your diplomatic mission To the UK, Palestine said the letter was a “deeply regrettable” contradiction of international law and earlier British policy.
“It marks a low point in relations between the United Kingdom and Palestine and undermines the credibility of the United Kingdom on the international stage,” he said. “It is clear that the UK now believes that Israel is above the law. There is no other interpretation of a statement that gives Israel carte blanche. “
He added: “On the one hand, Prime Minister Johnson claims to support the ICC’s mission. On the other hand, he seems to argue that his mission cannot be extended to Israel because it is a ‘friend and ally’ of the UK ”.
The formal investigation into alleged atrocities in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip began last month and is expected to cover the 2014 Gaza war, the 2018 Gaza border clashes and the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. .
It puts hundreds of Israelis, including soldiers and high-level political figures, at risk of prosecution. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed the case as “pure anti-Semitism and the height of hypocrisy.”
Palestinian armed groups, including the Gaza-based Hamas faction, which has been accused of intentionally targeting civilians with indiscriminate rocket fire, will come under scrutiny. Still, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, an internationally recognized representative of the Palestinians, wants to pursue the case.
In his letter, Johnson backed Israel’s claims that the court has no jurisdiction to investigate because “Israel is not part of the Rome statute. [that established the court] and Palestine is not a sovereign state ”.
The court rejects this, pointing to Palestine’s status as a “non-member observer state” of the UN and the ability of prosecutors to investigate people from non-signatory states.
In its statement, Palestine said that when it joined the court, the UK raised no objections and that it had every right to make claims on behalf of the victims.
“If Mr. Johnson questions this, he questions the legitimacy of the court. Furthermore, it contradicts declared British policy, that it is clear that the settlements are a violation of international law and therefore a war crime, ”he said.
“If Israel is not responsible for its actions, it has no incentive to comply with international law. If ‘friends and allies’ are exempted from international law, there is no foundation for the rules-based global order. “
Several pro-Palestinian British charities joined in condemning Johnson’s letter. On a joint statement, they accused the prime minister of “political interference” in the work of the court.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism