Jerusalem24 – Benny Gantz, Alternate prime minister of Israel, said Tuesday evening that Israel estimates hundreds of Israeli citizens may be questioned in the International Criminal Court’s war crimes investigation. He also reaffirmed Israel’s rejection of the ICC’s jurisdiction and is looking for methods to protect Israelis from this investigation.
Gantz, who might be one of the people that the ICC is investigating, told Reuters “I was never afraid of crossing enemy lines, I will continue to fight wherever it is required.”
Last month, the Hague-based court ruled it has jurisdiction over the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. This ruling could lead to criminal investigations against Israel.
Israel is not a member of the court and rejects its jurisdiction, a position in which it is supported by its close ally, the United States.
Palestinians welcomed the ruling as an opportunity to obtain justice for the victims of Israeli attacks.
In an interview on the border with Gaza, Gantz described the ruling as a “negative development,” adding: “We have our own teams working in different places to try and influence the International Criminal Court,” according to Israeli media.
Gantz was the Israeli military’s chief of staff during the 2014 war between Israel. The International Criminal Court cited this conflict as a possible investigation.
Asked by Reuters about the number of Israelis, including himself, who might be at risk of arrest if the investigation leads to criminal investigations, Gantz said: “I think several hundreds, but we will take care of everyone.” Gantz called this an “estimate”, declining to reveal whether Israel had put together a list of officials.
He said that Israel will provide legal aid to any Israelis who will be included in the order and will give them legal warnings about travel if necessary.
When asked about his intention to change his travel plans in light of the ICC investigation, Gantz said, “So far, no.”