Today marks the deadline for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to seek a deferral against the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) move to investigate war crimes committed in the Palestinian Territories.
The move has been harshly criticized by Israel and the US, which claim that it unfairly targets Israel. Meanwhile, the proposed investigation has received strong support from the PA, which is optimistic that the investigation will hold accountable Israeli officials who instigated the 2014 Gaza war. The conflict alone killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including numerous civilians, and 72 Israelis, 5 of which were civilians.
Though targeting actors on both sides, the investigation will have greater ramifications for Israel—albeit, ones limited to reputational risk. If senior Israeli officials are found guilty, this would further tarnish Israel’s credibility as the region’s only so-called democracy. Yet such a finding would fail to affect the regional dynamics and the anti-Iran, human rights-proof coalition between Israel, the US and Gulf states. For Israeli officials expected to be tried—among them Defense Minister Benny Gantz—the worst scenario that awaits is limited travel across ICC signatory states because the ICC can neither try states nor itself arrest individuals. For Palestinians, though the investigations could serve as a public diplomacy win, they would at best serve as a launchpad for future investigations on Israeli settlement expansion.
Esra is an analyst on the Current Developments division and a member of The Daily Brief’s research team. She specialises in political and security issues with a particular focus on the Middle East and North Africa.