Tanks near Gaza in Protective Edge
Tanks near Gaza in Protective EdgeFlash 90

Israel will host a working group of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as it weighs whether to probe alleged war crimes in the 2014 Gaza war, an Israeli official said Friday.

The group's arrival "shortly" will be unprecedented, the official told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity, saying the visit was intended to show the ICC team "how the Israeli judicial system works".

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's spokesman declined to comment.

The trip is at the request of ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, whose office, in a brief statement, confirmed Friday it "is in talks with both Palestinian and Israeli authorities about a potential visit".

Under its statutes, the ICC must be satisfied that the state in question is unable or unwilling to pursue the matter itself before the court opens war crimes proceedings.

Israel will seek to convince the visiting ICC team that it intends to see justice done over accusations it used excessive force in the July-August 2014 war in and around the Palestinian territory and events immediately preceding it.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) officially joined the ICC on April 1, 2015, and immediately filed a series of legal complaints with the court. In addition to claiming that Israel committed war crimes during the 2014 Gaza war, it also claimed that Israeli “settlements” are “an ongoing war crime”.

Israel vehemently opposes any ICC investigation, but officials have said they will cooperate with the body to convince it of the competence of the state's own courts.

Meanwhile, PA foreign minister Riad al-Malki met Bensouda in The Hague on Friday for unspecified talks.

"#ICC Prosecutor receives MFA of #Palestine: #ICC stands for independent & impartial justice #withoutfearorfavour" said an ICC tweet quoted by AFP. The tweet showed a smiling Bensouda and Malki shaking hands.

(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.)