Congressional letters urge Pompeo to protect Israel from ICC
search

Congressional letters urge Pompeo to protect Israel from ICC

Documents signed by members of both parties say prosecutor’s acceptance of Palestinian claims to territories is ‘political judgment that biases any investigation or trial’

This file image from November 7, 2019 shows the International Criminal Court, or ICC, in The Hague, Netherlands. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
This file image from November 7, 2019 shows the International Criminal Court, or ICC, in The Hague, Netherlands. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Letters signed by senators and US House representatives from both parties urge Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to protect Israelis from International Criminal Court prosecution.

The letters, which have strong backing from the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, note the recent ICC decision to accept “Palestine” as a state with the status to file a complaint.

“By accepting Palestinian territorial claims over the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, the Prosecutor is making a political judgment that biases any subsequent investigation or trial,” says the Senate letter spearheaded by Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio. “Establishing the boundaries of any future Palestinian state is a political decision that must be determined through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.”

The House letter, spearheaded by Reps. Elaine Luria, D-Va., and Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., features similar language. Cardin and Luria are Jewish.

The letters’ effect is to put on the record congressional support for positions already embraced by the Trump administration, which is committed to thwarting ICC prosecutions of Americans and Israelis.

While the letters are bipartisan, more Republicans than Democrats signed on to each one. The Democrats who signed are identified with the party’s moderates, particularly on Israel policy.

Separately, 11 Democrats on Thursday called on Pompeo to speak out against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex parts of the West Bank, citing the same logic in the ICC letters: It preempts a final status deal.

Four Jewish Congress members signed the statement, which also asks Pompeo “to endorse direct negotiations between the parties, reaffirming decades of bipartisan US foreign policy.”

The Jewish signers are Reps. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, John Yarmuth of Kentucky, Alan Lowenthal of California and Andy Levin of Michigan.

read more:
comments