Israeli President Reuven Rivlin wrote an editorial that appeared today in a French daily newspaper, Le Figaro, calling on France and other European heads of state to oppose the decision of the International Criminal Court to initiate war crime investigations against Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers.
The op-ed was published just hours ahead of Rivlin’s meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
Rivlin is currently in Europe with IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen Aviv Kochavi speaking to leaders about mutual security concerns.
“Our countries cooperate on a wide range of issues, including security, counter-terrorism, science and technology, culture and academic exchanges,” Rivlin said of France. “Israel also share the values which guide us and the democratic world as a whole: freedom, equality, justice, pluralism and tolerance.”
The president stressed the importance of international law to the state of Israel, saying that both international law and justice have been at the heart of Jewish vision.
“Jews were active in the creation of a framework of international law,” Rivlin wrote. “Jews and Israelis, motivated by the horrors of the Second World War, were at the forefront of the establishment of today’s international legal bodies, including the International Criminal Court itself. We are deeply committed to the theory and the practice of ensuring that war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity are never allowed to go unpunished…”
Rivlin denounced the misuse of international law by the ICC, emphasizing that Israel will stand by its IDF soldiers who protect its citizens when asked to do so.
“The decision by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel for possible war crimes is a dreadful misapplication of international law,” continued Rivlin. “A court established to deal with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community is being used as a political weapon. It is a morally and legally bankrupt decision.”
Rivlin finished with a strong declaration about the ICC’s decision and the damage it will likely cause toward any chance of resuming peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
“I call on friends of Israel and the Palestinians, in France and beyond, to state clearly, once and for all, that the road to peace runs directly between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Detours via the ICC in The Hague and the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva are counterproductive to the cause of peace and undermine the chances of an agreement between us.”
Click here to read President Rivlin’s op-ed in its entirety.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.