ICC's Lack of Jurisdiction



Israel's position is that the ICC lacks any jurisdiction on this matter given, among other reasons, that no sovereign Palestinian state exists nor does any territory belonging to such an entity.

PM Netanyahu "The decision of the International Court to open an investigation against Israel today for war crimes is absurd. It's undiluted antisemitism and the height of hypocrisy.

Without any jurisdiction, it decided that our brave soldiers, who take every precaution to avoid civilian casualties against the worst terrorists in the world who deliberately target civilians, it's our soldiers who are war criminals.

They said that when we build a house in our eternal capital of Jerusalem, it's been our capital for 3,000 years, that too is a war crime.

This court, that was established to prevent the repetition of the Nazi horrific crimes committed against the Jewish people, is now turning its guns against the one and only state of the Jewish people. It's targeting Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. But of course it turns a blind eye to Iran, Syria and the other dictatorships that are committing real war crimes left and right.

We will never stop fighting this injustice. We will speak the truth in every forum, in every country, on every stage until this outrageous decision is reversed and becomes null and void."



FM Gabi Ashkenazi: The Prosecutor’s decision to open an investigation is morally bankrupt and legally flawed.

This is a political decision made by a Prosecutor at the end of her term in an attempt to dictate her successor’s priorities. It turns the Court into a tool in the hands of extremist actors and emboldens terrorist organizations and anti-Semitic groups.

The fact that the murderous terrorist organization Hamas has welcomed this decision is the best evidence of its moral worth. Israel is a democratic state with an independent and effective legal system, and is not a member of the Court. The decision to open an investigation against Israel is a breach of the Court’s mandate. It is a waste of the international community’s resources by a biased institution that has lost all legitimacy and which operates as a political body rather than a judicial one.

The Prosecutor’s decision will only further polarize Israelis and Palestinians, and distance them from the very dialogue needed to resolve the conflict between them.

The State of Israel will take every necessary measure to protect its citizens and soldiers from legal persecution.

We call on countries who value the protection of the international legal system from politicization to reject the Prosecutor’s decision and not to cooperate with it.



Press release by the Foreign Ministry (February 7, 2021)

Israel rejects the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on jurisdiction in the Palestinian case.

Israel is not a Party to the ICC and has not consented to its jurisdiction. Only sovereign States can delegate jurisdiction to the Court, and there is not, nor has there ever been, a Palestinian state.

The Court in The Hague was established to confront mass atrocities that deeply shock the conscience of humanity; not to pursue democratic states with independent and effective legal systems. By this decision, the Court has unfortunately succumbed to politicization, violated its mandate and allowed itself to be dragged into a political conflict, making misguided determinations on issues over which it has no authority, and which the parties themselves have agreed must be resolved by direct negotiations.

With this decision, the Court has not only gravely harmed its legitimacy, it has inevitably contributed to the polarization between the parties, distancing them further from the very dialogue that is so necessary to resolve the conflict between them. This, at a rare moment of opportunity for progress that has been created by the recent historic normalization agreements in the region, and the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian coordination. This unwarranted intervention by a foreign court effectively rewards the Palestinian refusal to return to negotiations, plays into the hands of extremists, and turns the Court into a tool of anti-Israel propaganda.

The State of Israel is a democracy committed to the rule of law and international justice. Israel will take all necessary measures to protect its citizens and soldiers from this illegitimate decision by a Court which has proved itself today to be a political body, not a judicial institution.

We call on all States who value the international legal system, and seek to protect it from politicization, to oppose this decision and not cooperate with it.



Statement by Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (February 5, 2021)

Today's decision by the ICC distorts international law and turns this institution into a political tool of anti-Israeli propaganda.

The ICC has no jurisdiction to deliberate the Palestinian case.

The State of Israel is a robust democracy with an independent and effective legal system that is deeply respected all over the world.

The judges’ decision rewards Palestinian terrorism, as well as the refusal of the Palestinian Authority to return to direct negotiations with Israel, and will further polarize both sides.

We call upon all nations that value the international legal system, and object to its political exploitation, to respect the sovereign rights of states not to be subjected to the Court’s jurisdiction.

The State of Israel will take every necessary measure to protect its citizens.



Statement by PM Benjamin Netanyahu (February 5, 2021)

"When the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigates Israel for fake war crimes – this is pure antisemitism.

The court established to prevent atrocities like the Nazi Holocaust against the Jewish people is now targeting the one state of the Jewish people.

First, it outrageously claims that when Jews live in our homeland, this is a war crime.

Second, it claims that when democratic Israel defends itself against terrorists who murder our children and rocket our cities - we are committing another war crime.

Yet the ICC refuses to investigate brutal dictatorships like Iran and Syria, who commit horrific atrocities almost daily.

As Prime Minister of Israel, I can assure you this:

We will fight this perversion of justice with all our might!"

Statement by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit (February 6, 2021)

Yesterday (Friday, 5 February 2021), Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a decision regarding the scope of the ICC’s territorial jurisdiction over issues pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As previously published, the Attorney General’s position is that the ICC lacks any jurisdiction on this matter given, among other reasons, that no sovereign Palestinian state exists nor does any territory belonging to such an entity; and moreover, that the Palestinian Authority has no jurisdiction over Israeli citizens (for more information, see the Memorandum of the Attorney General dated 20.12.2019). This legal position has garnered the support of leading nations and world-renowned legal experts, yet the Court’s majority opinion disregarded many of the substantial legal arguments made in this context.

The State of Israel is a law-abiding democracy with an independent legal system. Israel is committed to the fundamental values of international law, and is fully capable of examining alleged violations of the law on its own. For this reason as well, there is absolutely no place for the ICC’s intervention in matters that are under the jurisdiction of the State of Israel.

The relevant political and legal authorities in Israel have been closely following for some time the attempts to draw the ICC into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and are fully prepared to deal with any possible developments in the ICC arena. The Attorney General and his team will continue to assist the Israeli Government and Israel’s citizens in addressing any situation arising out of the ICC.

Statement from the Attorney General

For several years now, the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been conducting a preliminary examination further to a request submitted by the Palestinians. The principled legal position of the State of Israel, which is not a party to the ICC, is that the Court lacks jurisdiction in relation to Israel and that any Palestinian actions with respect to the Court are legally invalid.

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The International Criminal Court’s lack of jurisdiction over the so-called “situation in Palestine” – Memorandum of the Attorney General

Israel acknowledges that the lack of jurisdiction on the part of international tribunals in respect of any particular disputes does not relieve States of their duty to fulfill their international legal obligations. In the present context, Israel remains willing and able to address any Palestinian grievance through various remedial avenues and by direct bilateral negotiations. 

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The International Criminal Court's lack of jurisdiction - Foreign Ministry synopsis

The cause of peace, the cause of justice, and the interests of those affected by the conflict – all values that the Rome Statute was designed to promote – are ultimately undermined, not advanced, by the ICC allowing for its politicization and intervening in circumstances where it so evidently lacks jurisdiction to do so.

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Joint statement by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Justice regarding the International Criminal Court Prosecutor's decision 21.12.19

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The Palestinians are trying to weaponize The International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court's credibility is seriously undermined.






PM Netanyahu Comments on the Claim by the ICC Prosecutor 23.12.19
PM Netanyahu on ICC Prosecutor Decision 20.12.19
Israel's Attorney General is publishing today his legal opinion regarding the ICC's lack of jurisdiction 20.12.19
Prime Minister Tweet: The court invents absurd accusations against the State of Israel...
Prime Minister Tweet: The court in The Hague is a political body that is hostile toward Israel, the US and other democracies...
Prime Minister Tweet: I would like to commend the Trump Administration for their decision to impose sanctions on the International Criminal Court in The Hague.”
The hard work of achieving criminal justice / The Times of Israel
By making what appears to be a politically motivated case, the prosecutor’s office runs the risk of undermining both the main Israeli-Palestinian legal framework and the ICC’s role as an unbiased agent of international law. - The Washington Institute
In the prosecutor's description there are no Israeli victims, no terror, only a Palestinian narrative that tries to roll responsibility for Israel - Arutz Sheva
Renaud Girard: «La judiciarisation de la question palestienne» / lefigaro









Czech Republic







Professor Malcolm N Shaw QC

Ambassador Dennis Ross

Professor Eyal Benvenisti

.Robert Badinter et al

Todd F. Buchwald | Stephen J. Rapp