Israeli authorities have reportedly drawn up a secret list of 200-300 individuals who could be tried for war crimes if the ICC pursues investigations into alleged abuses in Gaza and other occupied Palestinian territories.

Israel has reportedly produced a secret list containing the names of hundreds of citizens potentially liable for prosecution for war crimes.

News of the existence of the list containing 200-300 names, which was first reported by Haaretz, comes as Israel fears possible investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for abuses in occupied Palestinian territories, such as Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.

Names on the list include the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defence Minister and former Israeli Army chief Benny Gantz, and current Israeli Army head Aviv Kohavi.

During its more than half century long military occupation of the territories, Israel has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of Palestinians, and the extrajudicial detainment of tens of thousands, including children.

Palestinians have long complained about measures used by the Israelis to punish ordinary civilians, such as excessive force and collective punishment.

The country has also built an expansive network of settlements within the territories it occupies, which is a contravention of international law.

The list allegedly pertains to Israeli actions during the 2014 Gaza War, in which more than 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed.

UN investigators found in 2015 that there were grounds to believe both Israeli and Palestinian entities had committed war crimes during the war.

The ICC will decide whether it has the jurisdiction to investigate alleged abuses by Israel against the Palestinians in the coming weeks.

Fear of arrest

Israeli officials have long feared arrest for alleged abuses while traveling to countries that have a legal remit to prosecute foreign war criminals.

In 2016, former Israel foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, was summoned for questioning by the British police during a visit to the UK over alleged Israeli war crimes during the 2008 to 2009 war in Gaza.

Livni was able to avoid mandatory questioning by obtaining emergency diplomatic immunity and declining the - then voluntary- summons to be questioned.

Israel is resisting ICC investigation by arguing that as a Palestinian state does not exist, there is no sovereign entity that can delegate its judicial remit to the ICC to investigate Israel’s actions.

The country has also used its US allies to threaten ICC investigators with sanctions and visa revocations should they pursue any formal investigation of Israel. 

Source: TRT World