(JNi.media) The Netanyahu government has decided to change policy and begin talks with Fatou Bensouda, the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
A senior Israeli official has told Ha’aretz that “the purpose of the talks is just to clarify Israel’s position that the Tribunal has no jurisdiction to hear Hague Palestinian complaints” against the Jewish State.
According to Ha’aretz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided recently to open a dialogue with the prosecutor’s office in the Hague, after consulting with representatives from the Foreign Ministry (which he heads), the Justice Ministry, the IDF and the National Security Council.
The talks will be conducted by a professional team of representatives from various government ministries, who’ll be meeting with representatives of the Prosecutor while maintaining a low profile.
Israeli sources have insisted that the initiative does not constitute cooperation with the preliminary inquiry that the Hague Court is conducting over the Palestinian Authority’s request for a war-crimes trial against Israel. The sole purpose of this move is to persuade the court that it does not have jurisdiction to hear the Palestinians because Palestine is not a state, and because Israel’s judicial system is democratic and independent and has proven itself as willing and able to prosecute complaints of alleged war crimes.
The senior Israeli official speaking to Ha’aretz said the government believes the Prosecutor erred when she decided to open a preliminary inquiry.
“Israel has no obligation to cooperate with the preliminary inquiry conducted by the Prosecutor’s office,” he reiterated. But the decision has been made simply so that the Palestinian side won’t be the only one being heard.
Israel might also be open to discuss a visit by representatives of the Prosecutor’s office in Israel and Judea and Samaria. Such a visit is routine procedure for preliminary examinations conducted by the Prosecutor, but the Palestinians have been known to create provocation on similar occasions.
Israel has no patience for street theater when its reputation is at stake, and so the official stressed that “Israel expects the Prosecutor’s office will perform a careful, professional, independent and impartial investigation, and will not encourage the Palestinians to attempt to turn the court into a political tool or a publicity stunt.”