CFI says UK must stand by Israel over ‘dangerous’ war crimes probe
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CFI says UK must stand by Israel over ‘dangerous’ war crimes probe

Conservative politicians urge Boris Johnson to 'call out' the International Criminal Court's investigation in Gaza and the West Bank

Michael Daventry is foreign editor of Jewish News

Lord Pickles speaking at a Conservative Friends of Israel parliamentary reception
The letter was signed by CFI leaders including Lord Pickles

The Conservative Friends of Israel have urged the UK government to stand by Israel against the International Criminal Court’s “dangerous” investigation into alleged war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza.

In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson the group said the investigation, which was announced by ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Wednesday, could potentially result in claims against Britain and its armed forces.

It was signed by senior Conservative politicians Stephen Crabb and Lord Pickles, who jointly chair the CFI, as well as its honorary president Lord Polak.

The Court prosecutor’s decision was broadly welcomed by Palestinian groups but condemned in Israel, where Benjamin Netanyahu called it “the epitome of antisemitism and hypocrisy.”

The CFI letter said: “We should stand by our close ally and friend Israel and call out this investigation which sets both a dangerous precedent for non-state actors to pursue vexatious claims against this country and our brave armed forces, but also stands to severely affect the UK’s own sovereign legal determinations.

“In our own interests, we cannot afford to allow this to go unchallenged.”

It added: “It should worry us all that this decision now risks rewarding and emboldening those that wish to harm the Middle East Peace Process, including Palestinian terror groups.”

A Foreign Office spokesperson told the Jewish News: “We respect the independence of the ICC, and we expect it to exercise due prosecutorial and judicial discipline.”

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