ICC (International Criminal Court) in the Hague
ICC (International Criminal Court) in the HagueBas Czerwinski/Pool via REUTERS

The International Criminal Court in The Hague announced that it will officially open an investigation into alleged war crimes committed in the Gaza Strip and in Judea and Samaria.

A prosecutor's statement said that the investigation would deal with alleged crimes committed in these areas and in eastern Jerusalem before Operation Protective Edge.

The court's announcement said that the investigation would be carried out "independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor."

"The Rome Statute obliges the Office, in order to establish the truth, to extend its investigation to cover all facts and evidence relevant to an assessment of whether there is individual criminal responsibility under the Statute and, in doing so, to investigate incriminating and exonerating circumstances equally."

"To both Palestinian and Israeli victims and affected communities, we urge patience. The ICC is not a panacea, but only seeks to discharge the responsibility that the international community has entrusted to it, which is to promote accountability for Rome Statute crimes, regardless of the perpetrator, in an effort to deter such crimes. In meeting this responsibility, the Office focuses its attention on the most notorious alleged offenders or those alleged to be the most responsible for the commission of the crimes," the prosecutor also said.

"In the end, our central concern must be for the victims of crimes, both Palestinian and Israeli, arising from the long cycle of violence and insecurity that has caused deep suffering and despair on all sides."