No matter what you may have heard from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing government, or from his fawning admirers in the U.S. Republican Party, April 1 will be no day for fools at the International Criminal Court.
On that day, the state of Palestine officially becomes the 123rd member of the ICC. With its full status as a member state secured, Palestine will be authorized to ask the court’s chief prosecutor to open a formal investigation into alleged war crimes committed during last summer’s war in Gaza, and into Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank.
Although there have been late-breaking reports that the Palestinian Authority will delay its investigation request in response to Israel’s decision to release some of the tax revenue it collects on behalf of the authority and has impounded since January, Netanyahu’s bellicose policies aren’t likely to change in any fundamental way. As a result, even if it is delayed, a formal investigation still appears inevitable and, above all, necessary.