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Gantz: Israel Working to Shield Hundreds of Citizens Against Potential ICC War Crimes Probe

Courtesy AP

JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Tuesday hundreds of Israelis, himself included, could be subject to a war crimes investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Gantz told Reuters Israel is working to protect Israelis from the ICC after a pretrial chamber of the court ruled last month it has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute Israelis and Palestinians for potential war crimes. After last month’s ruling, it's now up to the ICC’s chief prosecutor to decide whether to launch a probe.

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Gantz called the ICC ruling a “negative development” and said, “We have our own teams working in different [places] to try [and] influence (the ICC).” Israel rejects the ICC ruling and says the court does not have jurisdiction to investigate or prosecute war crimes allegations.

Hamas welcomed the ICC decision even though members of its own terror group could also be charged with war crimes.

Gantz served as the Israeli military’s chief of staff during the country’s war with Hamas in 2014. The ICC points specifically to this conflict as a potential area for investigation.

The defense minister said Israel will provide legal assistance to any Israeli who is potentially charged if the ICC case moves forward.

“We will take care of everybody” he said.

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