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Israel wants India by its side against ICC ruling, Delhi silent

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Israel is pushing “good friend” India to take a stand against a ruling last week by the International Criminal Court claiming jurisdiction over Palestinian territories, but Delhi, still navigating its way through the big shifts in West Asia, is reluctant to be drawn in, official sources said.

The Indian Express has learnt that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whom he described recently as a “great friend”, asking India to speak out against the decision, and to send a clear message to the ICC “to stop this assault on justice and common sense”.

Delhi has not responded to Netanyahu’s February 7 communication, which came two days after the ICC ruling. Instead, the sources said, it has been conveyed through diplomatic channels that since India is not a member of the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC, it would not want to comment or take a position on any of the court’s decisions or rulings.

Israel, which is also not a member of the Rome Statute, has condemned the ICC ruling as “outrageous” and said the decision had exposed the court as “a political body”. Israel said the ICC “has no authority to make such a decision” since Israel does not recognise the court’s jurisdiction and the Palestinian Authority is not a sovereign state. Netanyahu called the ruling “antisemitism”.

The ICC’s majority 2-1 decision on February 5 was made on the basis of Palestine’s 2015 accession to the Rome Statute after its acceptance as a “non-member observer state” of the UN General Assembly in 2012. The court made it clear that the ruling was not a determination of Palestinian statehood.

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