Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday evening released a strong statement of condemnation on the International Criminal Court (ICC) decision last Friday, in which it chose to launch a preliminary probe into charges of Israeli "war crimes."
“Israel rejects the absurd decision of the ICC prosecutor," said Netanyahu. "It’s absurd for the ICC to ignore international law and agreements, under which the Palestinians don't have a state and can only get one through direct negotiations with Israel."
Reportedly Netanyahu spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday night, requesting American support in preventing the ICC action against Israel.
The Palestinian Authority (PA), despite the move being a breach of the 1993 Oslo Accords that created it, applied to join the ICC this month to sue Israel. That move came despite the PA not being a "state" by any criterion - such as having internationally recognized borders.
Netanyahu pressed this point, saying "the rules of the ICC are clear: no state, no standing, no case."
"It’s absurd for the ICC to go after Israel, which upholds the highest standards of international law. Our actions are subject to the constant and careful review of Israel's world-renowned and utterly independent legal system," he added.
The investigation is to include accusations from incidents during Hamas's most recent terror war against Israel last summer, the third such war.
"This decision is even more preposterous given that Israel is legitimately defending itself against Palestinian terrorists who routinely commit multiple war crimes. They deliberately fire thousands of rockets at our civilians, while hiding behind Palestinian civilians whom they use a human shield," commented the prime minister.
Indeed, many have noted that by joining the ICC the PA has opened itself up to lawsuits - every missile fired on Israel by the PA's unity partner Hamas, and indeed by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah, constitutes a war crime.
"Here's the ultimate folly of this decision - it is the democracy of Israel, a world leader in fighting terrorism, which is to be hauled to the dock in The Hague, while the terrorist war criminals of Hamas are the ones who are going to be pressing the charges," said Netanyahu.
Remarking on the implications of the move, he continued "I won't be surprised if ISIS (Islamic State), Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah follow suit. See, Hamas has already announced that they will join their Palestinian partner, President Abbas, in filing complaints against Israel as a result of this decision."
"So we see here something truly tragic. The lofty goals of the ICC are being turned upside-down," Netanyahu said. He explained "the court was founded to prevent a repeat of history's worst crimes, foremost among them the genocide of six million Jews (in the Holocaust)."
"Now the Palestinians are cynically manipulating the ICC to deny the Jewish state the right to defend itself against the very war crimes and the very terror that the court was established to prevent," concluded the prime minister.
The US also criticized the ICC decision late last Friday, saying it opposed actions against Israel at the ICC as "counterproductive to the cause of peace."
"It is a tragic irony that Israel, which has withstood thousands of terrorist rockets fired at its civilians and its neighborhoods, is now being
scrutinized by the ICC," US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said in a statement.