“There were grounds for the decision,” said MK Nitzan Horowitz of Meretz.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Chairman of the left-wing Meretz party, Nitzan Horowitz, is under fire from politicians from both ends of the political spectrum after he made comments on Saturday saying that the International Criminal Court’s probe into alleged Israeli war crimes is justified.
“I say this with great sadness, there were grounds for the decision. I don’t want Israel to face these situations… but Israel needs to ask itself what it needs to do to prevent that,” Horowitz said in an interview with Channel 13.
He then blamed Israel for bringing the ICC investigation upon itself.
By “continuing to build in the settlements as if there is no tomorrow” and refusing to enter negotiations with Palestinians, Israel should expect international backlash like the ICC probe, Horowitz said.
“Even in Operation Protective Edge [2014 Gaza conflict], there were things that should not have been done. There was massive damage done to the civilian population that the court wants to check.
“The solution for us is not to say that The Hague is anti-Semitic, but rather to advance negotiations with the Palestinians that bring about a solution. Then, there will be no reason for the Hague,” he said.
Horowitz doubled-down on his comments despite the criticism on Sunday in an interview with N12. “The one who are dragging Israel to the Hague court are Netanyahu, the Right and the settlers.”
“Meretz is an ideological party – we say things even when they are unpopular. Unlike other parties like Labor or Blue and White, I do not have to break Left or Right,” he said, speaking of other parties. Israel goes to the polls on March 23.
Horowitz’s comments come on the heels of an announcement last Wednesday by ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda that the court will open a probe into Israel’s military actions starting from June 2014.
The probe potentially could see IDF officials prosecuted.
The Likud party released a statement blasting Horowitz for “abandoning the IDF soldiers who are guarding him and all of us.”
The statement added that the ICC probe is “an anti-Semitic decision and Prime Minister Netanyahu will fight against it anywhere in the world to repeal it.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz slammed Horowitz on Twitter, writing, “Nitzan, your remarks tonight made me very angry. As someone who served in the IDF for 38 years and served as Chief of Staff, I know very well how much the IDF and its soldiers make every effort to avoid harming innocent people.”
Referencing recent polls suggesting that Horowitz’s Meretz party is hovering just below the threshold of minimum votes needed to enter the Knesset, he added, “No political campaign will justify legitimizing the unfounded decision of the Hague Tribunal.”
MK Ayelet Shaked of the right-wing Yemina party said Horowitz “is an embarrassment to the Knesset” and that her party will refuse to join a coalition alongside Meretz.
Itamar Ben Gvir of the still further to the Right Otzma Yehudit party called upon Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to investigate Horowitz “on suspicion of treason.”
In November 2020, MK Michal Cotler-Wunsch (Blue and White) took to Twitter with an explosive accusation that Horowitz was not alarmed by links between European financing for NGOs and terrorism.
The tweet came after a Knesset discussion on the issue.
“Imp[ortant] discussion on foreign govt $ NGOs, inc[luding] to terror tied orgs & need for transparency. Some MKs aren’t disturbed,” Cotler-Wunsch tweeted.
“I asked @NitzanHorowitz: ‘Does it bother you that the murderers of Rina Shnerb worked for Eur govt $ NGOs?’ His shocking response: ‘No.’”