Israel Prime Minster Sends Special Request To Joe Biden

( Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly made a request to President Joe Biden in an attempt to avoid a potential investigation.

This week, Axios reported that the Israeli Prime Minister asked the U.S. president to maintain the sanctions that former President Donald Trump imposed on the International Criminal Court. The reasoning behind Netanyahu’s request — to avoid a potential investigation into Israel regarding war crimes.

Netanyahu made the request of Biden during a phone conversation this week. Officials within Israel are concerned that if the U.S were to remove those sanctions on the ICC, it would be signaling that it wasn’t opposed to that investigation into war crimes.

Israelis are apparently also concerned that the investigation could eventually lead to law enforcement bodies issuing international arrest warrants for various Israeli military officers and other government officials.

They’re also concerned about it bosting BDS campaigns against their country. BDS is a movement led by Palestinians that promotes boycotts, divestments and economic sanctions against Israel.

Last September, the Trump administration imposed sanctions against ICC officials. After the international court decided to pursue an investigation into the Afghanistan war, the administration imposed the sanctions on the officials, including Fatou Bensouda, a prosecutor. Such an investigation could potentially implicate members of the CIA and United States troops.

At the time, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said further steps would be taken if the ICC did indeed decide to start an investigation into Israel’s actions.

Last month, judges with the ICC recently cleared way for a potential investigation into war crimes. That happened when they issued a ruling that said the court did indeed have jurisdiction in Gaza and the West Bank.

The investigation would look into war crimes that have been alleged to have occurred in Gaza in 2014, and also the construction of settlements by Israel in the West Bank in 2019.

Reportedly, Israeli officials asked many of their allies to send a “discreet message” urging the prosecutor to stop moving forward with the investigation.

According to Axios, Israel issued a classified cable to its ambassadors that read:

“You are instructed to tell the highest levels of government that if an investigation against Israel starts it will create a continuous crisis between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that will not allow any diplomatic progress to take place between the parties.”

Another suggestion was having the Biden administration keep the sanctions imposed by Trump in place. The hope from Israelis was that this would persuade Bensouda not to investigate any of the situations involving their two countries — including Gaza, Afghanistan and the West Bank.

This specific issue was discussed in a recent phone conversation between Israeli officials and Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, according to Axios.

On Thursday, Netanyahu said at a memorial service held for soldiers who are missing in action:

“In my phone call with President Biden, we talked about our moral obligation to protect our troops against those who are trying to defame their morality with false claims.”

That, apparently, was the Prime Minister hinting at the potential investigations by the ICC against both American and Israeli soldiers.