Germany backs Israel in International Criminal Court case

Berlin says that the court has no authority to hear a war crimes case against the Jewish state.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Germany filed an amicus brief at the International Criminal Court (ICC) before the Friday deadline that backs Jerusalem’s stance that the tribunal has no authority to deal with a Palestinian war crimes complaint against Israel.

Berlin agrees with one of Israel’s main arguments against the court’s right to adjudicate the case: There is no such thing as a “State of Palestine,” and since only states can bring charges in the Hague, the case should be dropped.

In addition, it stated that “a Palestinian state, and the determination of territorial boundaries, can be achieved only through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein, who met Germany’s leaders last week on the issue, was happy to hear the news.

“The most important power in the European Union is standing beside Israel in the face of incitement by the Palestinians and the hypocrisy of the UN,” he said. “Israel will fight for justice and will not allow [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas to continue his world-wide campaign of deception.”

The support of the largest country in the EU is part of a trend in which Germany is moving closer to Jerusalem on the Palestinian-Israel issue, wrote Eldad Beck in Israel Hayom on Sunday.

Less than a year ago, he said, Germany’s UN ambassador and former foreign secretary had compared Israel to North Korea and maintained that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria were illegal.

Since then, Germany’s parliament has defined the BDS movement as inherently anti-Semitic and called to remove any government funding for bodies connected to it. It has passed a non-binding resolution to stop differentiating between the “political” and “military” wings of the Iranian terror proxy, Hezbollah. And the government has been voicing stronger criticism lately of Iranian steps to enrich uranium beyond what is allowed in the 2015 nuclear deal.

Beck credits the slow change to several factors, including  a firm pro-Israel American policy, the wave of Islamic terror attacks that have hit Germany as well as Europe over the last couple of years, and the realization that Germany can benefit economically from partnering with Israel in many fields.

An internal political change has also left its mark, he said. The rise of the Alternative for Germany far-right party, which has made a point of supporting Israel to eliminate concerns that it is anti-Semitic, has forced most other parties to also show in actions and not just words that they back the Jewish state.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fauda Bensouda, had asked the court’s pre-trial chamber several months ago to rule on whether Palestine has the legal status of a state, so that she could move forward in the case.

Five other countries – Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Brazil and according to Channel 12, Uganda – have also filed for permission to make legal arguments against the court’s jurisdiction.

If they get the go-ahead from the chamber, they will have until March 16 to make their arguments in Israel’s favor.