Palestine has stated relations with Britain have reached a “low point” after Boris Johnson revealed that he opposed an international criminal court investigation into supposed war criminal activities in the Israeli-occupied territories.
The prime minister’s comments, made in a letter to the Conservative Good friends of Israel lobby group in the UK, said that while his federal government had “regard [for] the self-reliance” of the court, it opposed this specific questions into Israel.
” This investigation provides the impression of being a partial and prejudicial attack on a friend and ally of the UK’s,” he wrote.
In a declaration posted on the site of its diplomatic objective to the UK, Palestine stated the letter was a “deeply regrettable” contradiction of global law and previous British policy.
” It marks a low point in UK-Palestine relations and weakens the UK’s trustworthiness on the global stage,” it stated. “It is clear that the UK now thinks Israel is above the law. There is no other interpretation of a declaration that offers carte blanche to Israel.”
It added: “On the one hand, Prime Minister Johnson declares to support the mission of the ICC. On the other, he seems to argue that its objective can not reach Israel due to the fact that it is a ‘good friend and an ally’ of the UK.”
The formal questions into supposed atrocities in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip was released last month and is expected to cover the 2014 Gaza war, the 2018 Gaza border clashes and Israeli settlement building in the West Bank.
It puts numerous Israelis– including soldiers and senior political figures– at risk of prosecution. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has actually turned down the case as “pure antisemitism and the height of hypocrisy”.
Palestinian armed groups, consisting of the Gaza-based Hamas faction, which has been accused of purposefully assaulting civilians with indiscriminate rocket fire, will come under scrutiny. Still, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, a worldwide acknowledged representative for Palestinians, wishes to pursue the case.
In his letter, Johnson backed Israel’s claims that the court has no jurisdiction to investigate since “Israel is not a celebration to the statute of Rome [that established the court] and Palestine is not a sovereign state”.
The court declines this, indicating Palestine’s status as a UN “non-member observer state” and district attorneys’ abilities to examine people from states that are not signatories.
In its statement, Palestine stated that when it joined the court the UK raised no objection, and it had every right to pursue claims on behalf of victims.
” If Mr Johnson disputes this, he disputes the legitimacy of the court. Moreover, he contradicts stated British policy, which is clear that settlements are an infraction of international law and therefore a war criminal offense,” it stated.
” If Israel is not delegated its actions, it has no reward to abide by international law. If ‘good friends and allies’ are exempt from international law, there is no foundation for the rules-based international order.”
Several pro-Palestinian UK charities signed up with the condemnation of Johnson’s letter. In a joint statement, they implicated the prime minister of “political disturbance” in the court’s work.