US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday that the Biden administration opposes and is disappointed with the decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to pursue an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Price told reporters the ICC has “no jurisdiction over this matter," which he said "unfairly" targets Israel.
“Israel is not a party to the ICC, and it has not consented to the court's jurisdiction and we have serious concerns about the ICC's attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel,” Price said.
He added that the Biden administration is reviewing an executive order from former President Donald Trump that imposed sanctions on the ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and her top deputies over efforts investigating alleged war crimes by the U.S. in Afghanistan.
“Much as we disagree with the ICC's actions relating to the Palestinian situation, and of course to Afghanistan… we are thoroughly reviewing sanctions pursuant to Executive Order 13928, as we determine our next steps,” he said.
Earlier on Wednesday, 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."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu denounced the decision and called it “absurd”, adding, “It's undiluted anti-Semitism and the height of hypocrisy.”
Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett responded to the ICC decision and called it a "farce."
"The ICC is an anti-Semitic organization that is trying to tie Israel’s hands from defending itself," he said.
"As former minister of defense of the State of Israel, I can be very clear: Israel and its soldiers will continue to defend itself, defend democracy, defend our values in the face of the most radical Islamic terror in the world, and no ICC will stop us from doing that."