Following the recent bid by the Palestinian Authority to join the ICC (International Criminal Court), after having failed in its U.N. Security Council attempt to force unrealistic borders on the Jewish State, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to protect individual IDF soldiers from international prosecution.
Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Israel, two days after the Palestinians filed an application to become a party to the court, “We will not let (IDF) soldiers and officers be dragged to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.”
The Israeli Prime Minister’s assurances to IDF soldiers come after he ordered the freezing of funds to the Palestinian Authority in the amount of $127 million of tax revenues for what officials said would be a series of punitive steps following the Palestinian move.
Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said about the situation, “If the Palestinian Authority doesn’t take a step back, I think we have to take much more severe steps. We should not aid the existence of this authority,” he said.
As Netanyahu warned, “The Palestinian Authority has chosen to take a path of confrontation with Israel, and we will not sit idly by.”
In speaking about the new reality on the ground, with the Palestinians considering taking Israel to the Hague, for what it calls “war crimes,” the Israeli leader assured further,
“(IDF) soldiers will continue to defend Israel with determination and strength – and as they defend us, we will defend them, with the same determination and the same strength.”
He added that the Palestinian leadership should be put on trial before the ICC for signing a 2014 reconciliation agreement with the Islamist Hamas movement which led to the establishment of a national consensus government, “Those who should face justice are the heads of the Palestinian Authority who signed a covenant with the war criminals of Hamas,” he said.
At the same time, a high-ranking legal official said Israel was ready to counter with its own lawsuits against senior Palestinian officials immediately, should they be brought before the ICC, “These lawsuits, which are backed up with evidence, documents and affidavits, can be filed as early as tomorrow morning,” the official said.