Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to launch a media campaign directed against the International Criminal Court in The Hague and its Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, according to sources at the Prime Minister’s office. Netanyahu took this decision despite a specific recommendation by the Foreign Ministry not to refer to the prosecutor and court in negative terms and not to attack them directly.
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Over the weekend Bensouda announced that the court would begin a preliminary investigation of the “situation in Palestine”.
Palestinian membership in the court only takes effect on April 1 but the Palestinians requested the invoking of article 12.3. Under this clause a non-member state can request that the Court’s authority be provided for specific cases pertaining to that state. The Palestinians asked the Court to extend its authority to the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem starting on June 13, the day after the murder of the three Israeli teenagers by Palestinian terrorists near Hebron.
Prime Minister Netanyahu convened a meeting at his office on Sunday, which included Defense Minister Ya’alon and other senior officials from the Defense, Foreign and Justice Ministries.
A senior official at the Prime Minister’s bureau said that a decision was made to take action to foil the Court Prosecutor’s decision to launch the preliminary investigation.
Netanyahu believes that Bensadou’s decision indicates that she is hostile to Israel. “The whole purpose of this move is to deny Israel it’s right to defend itself and to tie its hands in its fight against terror” said the senior official after the meeting.