Netanyahu urges US lawmakers to help Israel avoid war crimes charges

Netanyahu urges US lawmakers to help Israel avoid war crimes charges
Fri Aug 8, 2014 13:14:22

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has appealed to American legislators to help the regime stave off what is likely to be a concerted global push to haul Tel Aviv’s military and political leaders to international courts for war crimes committed in Gaza, The New York Post reports.

According to the Post, during a meeting on Wednesday with members of Congress who are visiting Israel as guests of AIPAC, Netanyahu urged the American representatives to summon their powers in assisting Israeli officials who wish to avoid trial by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The congressional delegation includes Rep. Steve Israel (D – NY), who heard the latest from the Israeli premier regarding the tenuous Gaza cease-fire as well as the regime’s strained relations with the Obama administration.

“The prime minister asked us to work together to ensure that this strategy of going to the ICC does not succeed,” Israel told The New York Post.

Netanyahu “wants the US to use all the tools that we have at our disposal to, number one, make sure the world knows that war crimes were not committed by Israel,” the congressman said.

The Israeli diplomatic and military establishments are girding for a legal onslaught that could implicate some of the regime’s leaders in war crimes trials.

The Israel Defense Forces high command has begun to make preparations for legal battles and anticipated war crimes charges in international forums in the wake of the nearly month-long deadly offensive against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported on Thursday.

Fearful of the growing international chorus demanding that Israeli officers be tried for war crimes committed against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, senior military brass has ordered a comprehensive internal probe of the army’s actions during Operation Protective Edge.

The regime’s Foreign Ministry has not yet decided whether Israel should cooperate with a United Nations Human Rights Council commission that is expected to be set up in the coming days to investigate alleged war crimes in Gaza.

Senior diplomatic officials said deliberations are currently underway in the ministry to decide whether Tel Aviv should boycott this commission, as it did the Goldstone Commission in 2009, which found Israel guilty of war crimes for its actions during the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

BA/BA

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