International Criminal Court at The Hague
International Criminal Court at The HagueiStock

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday authorized a probe into alleged Israeli war crimes in Palestinian Authority territories.

A three-judge panel ruled that Judea, Samaria, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem are within the jurisdiction of the court.

In a press release, the ICC said that the judges ruled that "the Court's territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine, a State party to the ICC Rome Statute, extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”

The court added that the ruling was aimed at determining its territorial jurisdiction rather than establishing statehood.

"Regardless of its status under general international law, Palestine's accession to the Statute followed the correct and ordinary procedure and that the Chamber has no authority to challenge and review the outcome of the accession procedure conducted by the Assembly of States Parties," continued the court.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced in late 2019 that she intends to open a full investigation into alleged Israeli “war crimes”, but before opening a full probe, asked the ICC to rule on the territory over which it has jurisdiction because of the "unique and highly contested legal and factual issues attaching to this situation."

She subsequently ruled that “Palestine” is a state and the ICC has jurisdiction involving its cases.

The ICC was to have ruled back in July on whether the Chief Prosecutor indeed has the authority to investigate Israeli “war crimes”, but it went on its summer recess without deciding on the matter.

Israel has argued that the ICC does not have jurisdiction over the case, since there is no State of Palestine.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)