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Israel’s Plan to Annex Jordan Valley in ‘Deep Freeze’ Due to ICC Probe
NEG II nestled in the Jordan Valley (credit: Austin (Chad) Hill ©Leore Grosman)

Israel’s Plan to Annex Jordan Valley in ‘Deep Freeze’ Due to ICC Probe

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has reportedly shelved a plan to annex the West Bank’s Jordan Valley, following a decision by the International Criminal Court at the Hague to open a probe into alleged Israeli war crimes. The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced last week that she was “satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine,” adding that there was evidence the Israel Defense Forces “willfully caus[ed] serious injury to body or health” with disproportionate attacks against the terrorist-run Gaza Strip in 2014. In response, Netanyahu called the ICC a “political tool” and claimed that it “has no authority to adjudicate the matter. It has jurisdiction only in lawsuits presented by sovereign states, but there has never been a Palestinian state,” he said. Netanyahu further claimed that the ICC’s move was motivated by “pure anti-Semitism.” During the last election campaign, Netanyahu vowed to annex parts of the West Bank, including Jewish communities located there, and suggested the controversial initiative would be supported by the Trump Administration. However, the proposal is now reportedly in a “deep freeze” over fears that it could exacerbate an anticipated standoff with the ICC, which, parenthetically, will also be investigating Hamas for its terrorist activities. Bensouda previously said that she was “follow[ing] with concern proposals advanced during the recent electoral process, to be tabled to the [parliament], for Israel to annex the Jordan Valley.”

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