Israel intends to ask dozens of allies to deliver a “secret message” to Fatou Bensouda, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, tomorrow and urge her not to proceed with the investigation against Israel over alleged war crimes in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, two Israeli officials told the Axios website.
why does it matter: Israel is extremely concerned that any investigation may lead to international arrest warrants against Israeli military officials and officers. The Israelis are also concerned that such an investigation would bolster BDS campaigns against Israel.
News Lead: The Israeli Foreign Ministry sent a secret cable to dozens of Israeli ambassadors around the world on Sunday, containing instructions to begin lobbying efforts around the world. Friday ruling Of the International Criminal Court judges, paving the way for an investigation against Israel.
- Israeli officials said the telegram was classified as “urgent” and included instructions that ambassadors should come to the office on Sunday to read the secret cable and begin communicating with the governments of the countries in which they work.
- In the cable, Israeli ambassadors have been instructed to ask foreign ministers and heads of government in the countries in which they operate to issue public statements opposing the judges’ decision. So far only the United States and Australia have made such statements.
what are they saying: “The United States objects to the International Criminal Court’s decision on the Palestinian situation. Israel is not a state party to the Rome Statute. We will continue to support President Biden’s strong commitment to Israel and its security, including opposing measures that seek to unfairly target Israel,” a spokesperson said. State Department Ned Price on Friday.
- The cable included other sensitive instructions to encourage governments to put political pressure on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. “We ask (governments) to send a confidential letter to the Public Prosecutor asking them not to proceed with the investigation against the Israelis and not to give this case a high priority,” the telegram said.
- “You have been instructed to inform the highest levels of government that if an investigation against Israel is launched, this will lead to an ongoing crisis between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that will not allow any diplomatic progress between the two parties,” the cable said.
What then: The ambassadors were asked to inform friendly countries that Israel wants to open special channels of dialogue focusing on the ICC case.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is expected to send messages to dozens of leaders around the world asking for their support in the face of any investigation. Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi are expected to have a phone call with their counterparts in the major world powers and allies to discuss the issue.
recovery: Bensouda announced the possible investigation with Israel and Hamas over alleged war crimes during the 2014 war in Gaza, as well as Israel’s construction of settlements in the West Bank, in December 2019, and Israel and the Trump administration immediately began trying to rally opposition to an attempt to persuade judges to block it.