Statement: ICC Decision is Unavoidable Consequence of Ongoing Occupation

The international Criminal Court (ICC) over the weekend ruled that it has jurisdiction over the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip -- territories under Israeli occupation since 1967. This opens the path for the ICC to launch formal investigations against Israel and against Hamas for alleged war crimes.

Reports suggest that the Court may investigate Israel for its policy of constructing settlements in the occupied West Bank, and for military practices against civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Following the February 5th decision, Netanyahu said that such investigations would be “pure antisemitism.”

Commenting on these developments, Americans for Peace Now’s President and CEO Hadar Susskind said: “The ICC’s decision and possible investigations are a sobering reminder for Israel’s leadership and for the Israeli public that the occupation, the settlements, and the ongoing military rule over a large civilian population are untenable. This 54-year-old status quo may seem to them like a situation that can be sustained in perpetuity, but the ICC decision is a clear example of the fact that the international community will not tolerate it. Neither will we or the many progressive American Jews who support our organization and Israel’s peace movement. Neither, of course, should Israeli citizens.

“The prospect of seeing Israel accused of war crimes in an international tribunal is, to me, heartbreaking. But the response to that should not be hollow cries of ‘antisemitism.’ It should be a national reflection on 54 years of Occupation. It should not be an attempt to delegitimatize international law. It should be a clear-eyed look as to whether the IDF is, as is often proclaimed, 'the most moral army in the world.'

“For decades, our organization has echoed the calls of Israel’s peace movement to end the occupation and reach a just and lasting peace deal with the Palestinians.

“Instead, successive Israeli governments have denied Palestinians their basic human and collective national rights. Israeli governments have advanced policies such as settlement construction, de-facto annexation, and de-jure annexation, which are intended to make impossible the creation of a viable Palestinian state. Without securing such a state, without drawing Israel’s permanent borders through a mutually accepted agreement, and as long as it continues to rule over another people, Israel will not be fully accepted as a respectable member of the family of nations, and will risk becoming an international pariah.

“A critical international examination of the occupation and measures to perpetuate it, whether settlement construction or the use of excessive force, is not antisemitic. It is the anticipated result – indeed the unavoidable consequence – of an ever-entrenching 54-year-old belligerent occupation.”