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US Vice President Kamala Harris, in a call yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has restated the United States’s opposition to an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories, the White House said.
The call between the two world leaders was their first since Harris and President Joe Biden took office in January, it came on the heels of the ICC’s announcement of the investigation on Wednesday.
The court determined in February that the occupied Palestinian territories fall under its jurisdiction, paving the way for an investigation of war crimes committed by Palestinians and Israelis.
Fatou Bensouda who is Chief Prosecutor has promised that the inquiry will be conducted ‘, impartially and objectively, without fear or favour’.
Bensouda, who will be replaced by British prosecutor Karim Khan on June 16, said in December 2019 that war crimes had been or were being committed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Bensouda named the Israel army and armed Palestinian groups such as Hamas as possible perpetrators.
During Thursday’s call, Harris and Netanyahu noted their governments ‘opposition to the International Criminal Court’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel,’ the White House said.
A day earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said that Washington ‘firmly opposes and is deeply disappointed by the ICC decision.
‘Israel is not a party to the ICC and has not consented to the Court’s jurisdiction, and we have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel,’ Blinken said in a statement.
Harris and Netanyahu also agreed to continue to cooperate on regional security issues, specifically, Iran’s nuclear programme and its ‘dangerous‘ behavior, the White House statement concluded.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK