04:57 GMT14 July 2020
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    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to decide on whether Tel Aviv will cooperate with the International Criminal Court in its probe into alleged war crimes committed by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza, or whether it will refrain from assisting the investigators.

    The ICC investigation is aimed at checking Israel's conduct since 2014, when it started its operation Protective Edge aimed at stopping the indiscriminate rocket attacks of Hamas militants towards Israel's southern communities, which has seen more than 2,000 people killed in the process, most of them civilians.

    The probe is also set to explore Israel's handling of the March of Return protests that kicked off in 2018 following Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the continuous expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

    "Based on the available information", ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stated, "there is a reason to believe that war crimes were committed in the context of the 2014 hostilities in Gaza".

    Bensouda, who is now known for her ability to hunt tyrants, is also remembered for her ties with Gambia's former dictator Yahya Jammeh, often associated with violations of human rights and the persecution of women and the LGBT community in the country.

    Although her notorious past hasn't been a secret before, her ties to the former dictator were swept under the rug.

    But not by Israeli media, which published a number of articles exploring the ties of Bensouda to Jammeh. 

    Israeli Media Attacks

    "The Prosecutor's activity in pursuit of justice have turned her into a fighter for human rights but she has one stain marring her past", said Ynet, one of the most-read news websites in Israel, referring to the years when Bensouda served as Jammeh's minister of justice, turning a blind eye to his atrocities.

    Although she was eventually fired, potentially because of the dictator's disapproval of her human rights activity, her work under Jammeh did leave a mark on her reputation, suggested the report.

    Israelis Against the Hague

    Ordinary Israelis also took to the microblogging platform Twitter to vent over the looming trial.

    "Iran? Saints. Syria? Angels. Turkey? Pure. Israel? War criminals. The Hague is a bunch of Israel haters [working] under the auspices of terror", one netizen wrote.

    "The decision of ICC's prosecutor to investigate our 'war crimes' in Gaza during Protective Edge shows that our giving up on Judea and Samaria will not save us from antisemitic courts abroad. They will chase us deep into the green line and beyond and will not stop until they push us out to the sea", another user tweeted.

    ​"Why is this even bothering you? 70 years ago they put us on trial in gas chambers.... a terror organisation is now complaining that we deprived them. The Hague will vanish like gas", a fellow Twitterian quipped in.

    But there were other voices too. Those that were supportive of the ICC's decision alluded to Israel as an occupying force that needs to take full responsibility for its actions.

    "They [the Palestinians] didn't wage a war against us. They have been under our occupation for 50 years already. If you want their territories, give them citizenship. If you don't want to do that, leave their area. If you chose to stay and not give them citizenship, don't complain about The Hague". 

    "Even if the current move made by ICC will be blocked and even if the current war criminals will manage to avoid facing justice... in the end of the day the poison of the occupation will continue to spread, will take over our bodies and heads (or what remained of them) and will eventually kill us all".

    ​​Who's to Blame?

    However, there was much less unanimity as Twitternauts decided who’s to blame for the developments.

    Renowned anchor-woman of Israel's channel 12 Dana Weiss lashed out at the incumbent leader, saying that a year earlier, the Hague had warned Tel Aviv that it was considering taking action against Israel's top officials, but their warnings fell on the deaf ears of the country’s cabinet, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu.

    ​Her tweet, in turn, received a barrage of criticism for her obsession with the PM.

    "The Hague against the State of Israel. Guess who's guilty? I'll give you a hint. His name has 4 letter [Bibi = Netanyahu - ed.]. Another hint: his wife's name is Sara. One more: he is the father of Yair. And the last one: he is to blame for many other things", an Israeli journalist tweeted, slamming the mainstream media's obsession with the prime minister and his family.

    But others pinned the blame on the media and left-wing parties.

    "It is not the fault of the Hague but rather of our own left wingers", one user tweeted, referring to the efforts made by Tamar Zandberg, a former leader of the liberal Meretz party that back in 2016 supported the bill proposed by Israel's Arab parties to let international bodies prosecute Israeli officials for alleged war crimes.

    ​Another Twitterian agreed by posting a detailed explanation of why the ICC feels free to attack Israel, getting a back wind from such NGOs as Breaking the Silence and Betselem.

    Some social media user has even offered to help:

    "First and foremost I am a proud Israeli...and as such I cannot sit idly by watching the ICC taking such decisions. That's why I call on Israel's foreign minister Yisrael Katz to use me in his advocacy efforts. I can give interviews and lectures - anything that's needed to help Israel in its battle".

    Social media, Palestine, palestinians, war crimes investigation, War Crimes, International Criminal Court (ICC), ICC, Israel
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