The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) welcomed on Saturday the International Criminal Court (ICC) decision that extends jurisdiction to probe Israeli war crimes in the Palestinian territories.
The Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC decided on Friday by a majority 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.
“Hamas welcomes the court’s decision,” the movement said in a press statement, adding that “it is an important step to achieve justice and equity for the victims of the Israeli occupation.”
However, it added that “the most important step is to complete the required steps to bring the Israeli war criminals to international courts and hold them accountable for the crimes they committed.”
Hamas, which rules the besieged Gaza said also said that “the Palestinians look forward to the day when the occupation and its leaders will be prosecuted for the crimes they have committed against them.”
Meanwhile, Palestinian Minister of Justice, Mohammed al-Shalaldeh told reporters that Palestine welcomes the ICC decision, adding that “It’s historic and important for investigating Israel's crimes in the Palestinian territories.”
“The decision has criminal legal value, which is to give the criminal court authority to investigate crimes committed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” al-Shalaldeh said.
The decision would potentially clear the way for the ICC chief prosecutor to open a war crimes probe into Israeli military actions.
The Palestinians welcomed the decision, but was decried by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who vowed to fight “this perversion of justice,” according to the Israeli media.