In response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has billed Israel as “a democratic state,” a member of the European Parliament has called the regime an “apartheid state,” which has illegally occupied Palestinian and Syrian lands and is engaged in genocide against Palestinians.
“When the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigates Israel for fake war crimes, this is pure anti-Semitism,” Netanyahu said on Saturday, a day after the ICC ruled that it has jurisdiction to open a war crimes investigation against Israel.
In a tweet later in the day, Mick Wallace, independent Irish member of the European Parliament (EP), said Israel is “an apartheid state” rather than a democratic one.
Wallace, an outspoken member of the EP, also slammed Israel as a “lawless state”, which is illegally occupying Palestine and Golan Heights, and totally ignores international law as it bombs Syria “whenever it feels like it.”
#Israel is not a Democratic State, it's an Apartheid State, which engages in Genocide against #palestinians. It is illegally occupying #Palestine and #GolanHeights - And totally ignores International Law as it bombs #Syria whenever it feels like it. Israel is a lawless State.... https://t.co/Zscwjt8ANw— Mick Wallace (@wallacemick) February 6, 2021
In a statement released on Friday, the ICC said it has jurisdiction in Palestine, a move that cleared its chief prosecutor to investigate alleged atrocities despite strong objections by the Israeli regime.
ICC judges made it clear that the court was not taking a stance on any border disputes, but added the court’s territorial jurisdiction extended “to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”
The Palestinian government welcomed the new ruling, praising it as a victory for justice, humanity and freedom, and voicing readiness to cooperate with the ICC’s prosecutor if an investigation is launched.
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas also hailed it as a move in support of the rights of Palestinians, saying the Israeli regime has continually practiced “organized terror” against Palestinians whereas the international community remained silent.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – the territories the Palestinians want for their future state – in 1967. Currently, about 700,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Citing the UN General Assembly Resolution 67/19, the ICC said that the resolution reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.
Israel is not a member of the ICC, but Palestine was allowed to join in 2015 and has since called for an investigation into Israeli crimes. The regime in Tel Aviv has argued that as Palestine is not a fully-fledged state, it should not be allowed to petition the court.
In the Friday statement, the ICC rejected Israel’s argument, stating that Palestine had “the right to be treated as any other state party” to its statute.
Netanyahu and former US President Donald Trump have been among the fiercest critics of the ICC in recent years. Emboldened by Trump’s hostility toward the ICC, the Israeli prime minister called for sanctions against the court in 2020.