A prosecutor from the International Criminal Court has presented claims that Israel is guilty of war crimes; Australia and the United States have now both rejected these claims by the ICC; Australian spokesperson: Australia’s position is clear-we do not recognize a so-called ‘State of Palestine’.

Last week, Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, stated, “In brief, I am satisfied that (1) war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip; (2) potential cases arising from the situation would be admissible; and (3) there are no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve the interests of justice.”

Australia has now joined the United States in rejecting the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to investigate Israel for alleged war crimes, specifically in areas like Gaza and East Jerusalem. Their rejection of the ICC’s decision was for several reasons, primarily being that Australia does not recognize Palestine as a sovereign state, therefore it cannot be subject to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

A spokesperson for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade stated, “Australia is concerned by the ICC Prosecutor’s proposal to consider the situation in the Palestinian Territories, subject to a ruling by the Court’s Pre-Trial Chamber on the scope of the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the matter.” And in even stronger terms the spokesperson added, “Australia’s position is clear – we do not recognize a so-called ‘State of Palestine’ and we do not recognize that there is such a State Party to the ICC’s Rome Statute. We consider that the question of territory and borders can be resolved only through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. This is the only way to ensure a durable and resilient peace.”

Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz thanked Australia, stating, “Many thanks to the Australian government for taking the unequivocal and principled stance against the ICC prosecutor’s decision. I urge other countries to take a similar stance and not allow the court to turn into a political weapon against Israel.”

Last week, the decision by the ICC was immediately rejected by the United States. Secretary of State of State Mike Pompeo stated, “We firmly oppose this and any other action that seeks to target Israel unfairly. We do not believe the Palestinians qualify as a sovereign state, and they therefore are not qualified to obtain full membership, or participate as a state in international organizations, entities, or conferences, including the ICC.”