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ICC Launches Controversial Investigation 

The International Criminal Court on Wednesday announced it was launching a formal investigation into alleged war crimes by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. According to chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who is slated to be replaced in three months, the court will look into actions taken by both Israel and Hamas in the the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem since June 13, 2014. The decision to start the investigation was made possible by last month’s ICC ruling, that decreed the court had jurisdiction over these territories. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not mince words in responding to the news, accusing the Hague of “undiluted anti-Semitism” and “hypocrisy.” Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, meanwhile, welcomed the decision, saying it was “necessary and urgent,” while Hamas called it a “step forward on the path of achieving justice.” United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken concurred with Netanyahu that the ICC “has no jurisdiction” over the matter and said Washington “firmly opposes and is deeply disappointed” by the decision. “We will continue to uphold our strong commitment to Israel and its security, including by opposing actions that seek to target Israel unfairly.”