WEST BANK (Dispatches) – After denouncing the International Criminal Court’s probe into the Zionist regime’s war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, U.S. Department of State spokesman Ned Price struggled to answer a question over where Palestinians should seek accountability for abuses carried out by the Zionist regime.
"The United States is always going to stand up for human rights,” Price claimed at a media briefing, before pivoting to a familiar declaration of Washington’s support for the so-called ‘two-state solution’.
Unsatisfied with the answer, Associated Press correspondent Matthew Lee kept asking while Price was delivering the generic lines: "Where do they go? Where? Where? Do they go to the Israeli courts? Where do they go? Where. Do. They. Go?”
The query went unanswered as Price moved on to another subject.
The question, rights advocates say, is of tremendous importance. The new U.S. administration has condemned all measures of Palestinian resistance, including the peaceful Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as well as efforts to secure justice at international forums including the ICC and the United Nations.
Jonathan Kuttab, a Palestinian-American lawyer specializing in international law, said the administration was not merely questioning the methods Palestinians were using to fight for their rights; it was implying that Palestinians don’t have any rights at all.
Amnesty International praised the ICC’s decision to open a war crimes investigation against the occupying regime as a momentous breakthrough.
Head of Amnesty International’s Center for International Justice, Matthew Cannock, said that announcement by ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda that she is opening a full war crimes probe "is a momentous breakthrough for justice after decades of non-accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
He added, "The ICC investigation provides the first genuine prospect for thousands of victims of crimes under international law to gain long overdue access to justice, truth and reparations. It also offers a historic opportunity to finally put an end to the pervasive impunity that has driven serious violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) for more than half a century.”
The Palestinian Authority (PA) as well as Hamas resistance movement also welcomed the prosecutor’s announcement.
Zionist prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing the court of anti-Semitism, described its decision to launch an investigation as "outrageous,” telling Fox News, "I am going to fight this in every place.”
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, in a call with Netanyahu reaffirmed Washington’s opposition to the investigation, the White House said.
The call was the first between the two since Harris and Biden took office in January.
Bensouda has identified the Israeli military’s use of lethal and non-lethal force against Palestinians demonstrating near the fence separating the Gaza Strip from the occupied territories after 2018 as one possible focus of the investigation.