Rivlin Meets Canadian FM Baird

January 18, 2015  

At a meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, President Reuven Rivlin decried the decision of the International Criminal Court to pursue an investigation against Israel. The decision by ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to investigate Israel for “war crimes” was, he said, “a gift to terrorists and a violation of the sanctity of international justice. Israel is committed to a high standard of observance of international law.

Over the weekend, Bensouda said her office would conduct a preliminary probe into possible war crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians, including during last year’s Gaza war. The analysis, she said would be conducted “in full independence and impartiality.”

“Under the current conditions, the terror groups do not answer to anyone, and their victory is in subjecting innocent civilians to feeling terrorized and to complain when Israel defends its citizens. International law must be clarified so that it is clear what a state can do to defend itself,” Rivlin said.

Baird met Rivlin in Jerusalem, and thanked him for the warm welcome – quite the opposite of what he experienced just a few hours earlier, on a visit to Ramallah. There, AFP reported, PA Arabs threw eggs at Baird’s motorcade as it left a meeting with PA chief Mahmoud Abbas.

Baird said that he had asked the PA not to pursue charges against Israel at the ICC. “I asked that the minister strongly reconsider the consequences of moving forward with any action that may be counterproductive to a negotiated solution with the state of Israel,” Baird said in a statement issued by the Canadian foreign ministry. He said the two had “constructive talks” which included “candid and frank exchanges on areas where we differ in opinion.”

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