B’nai B’rith International commends the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for determining it does not have jurisdiction to investigate cases related to the Gaza conflict in 2008-2009 because “Palestine” is not a state. This was in response to a request by the Palestinian Authority for the ICC to investigate the Gaza conflict, which was supported by various pro-Palestinian non-governmental organizations. We remain concerned about the Palestinian intention to renew attempts to bypass the negotiating table in order to become a full member state at the United Nations.
“Though this determination should have been made long ago, we are pleased the ICC has upheld the promise of its founding treaty,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs. “This decision is clearly a much-needed rebuke of those non-governmental organizations who have sought to have U.N. agencies treat ‘Palestine’ as if it were a state.”
The court ruled that only the U.N. Security Council or a U.N.-recognized state that is party to the Rome Statute—the court’s founding treaty—can grant the ICC jurisdiction to investigate cases within its borders. The court correctly concluded that its jurisdiction is not based on the principle of universal jurisdiction.
“Ever since the Palestinian Authority sought to subject Israel to ICC jurisdiction in 2009, the ICC prosecutor has been expected to render a view of whether this bid was legitimate,” said B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin. “Only after the Palestinians sit down at the negotiating table with Israel to discuss borders, security and other crucial issues can one begin to discuss international recognition of a Palestinian state.”
B’nai B’rith, which has had representatives at the United Nations since its founding in San Francisco in 1945, is the only Jewish organization with a full-time presence at the world body and its agencies.