Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (file image)
Some Israelis believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu isn't doing enough to protect citizens. Image by Getty Images/AAP PHOTOS

Netanyahu broadside falsely linked to 2023 Gaza war

David Williams December 29, 2023

The Israeli prime minister has used a broadcast to rail against the International Criminal Court (ICC) after the body accused his country of war crimes during the 2023 conflict in Gaza.


False. The prime minister's comments are from February 2021 after an earlier ICC ruling. The body has not accused Israel of war crimes in relation to the ongoing conflict.

It is being claimed that the Israeli prime minister has accused the International Criminal Court (ICC) of “anti-Semitism” after the body alleged his country had committed war crimes during the current conflict.

This is false. Benjamin Netanyahu made the comments almost three years ago in response to a 2021 ICC ruling. While the judicial body has said it is investigating allegations of crimes, it has not accused Israel of war crimes in Gaza.

Posts linking Netanyahu’s 2021 comments to the current conflict have appeared across Facebook, (here, here, here and here) as well as on X (here) and TikTok (here).

Many of the posts feature the text: “After murdering more than 17,000 people in 2 months including more than 5000 children and hundreds of United Nations workers and medical staff, Netanyahu is outraged with the international community and the International Criminal Court for accusing Israel of war crimes.”

Netanyahu ICC post
 Social media users claim Netanyahu’s speech was in response to a recent ICC accusation. 

Most either appear alongside the video or stills of Netanyahu’s 2021 broadcast. Some also include graphic images and videos of injured and dead Palestinians. 

“When the ICC investigates Israel for fake war crimes this is pure anti-Semitism,” Netanyahu says in the video. “The court established to prevent atrocities like the Nazi Holocaust against the Jewish people, is now targeting the one state of the Jewish people.”

The Netanyahu speech is genuine, with the video and transcript available from the Israeli government.

His comments were widely reported by international media (see here and here) at the time.

His February 2021 comments concerned a ruling by the ICC that it had jurisdiction to investigate alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967 (see section 118, page 51).

The ruling led to the opening of a formal investigation into the “situation in Palestine”, which continues today.

ICC chief prosecutor Karim Ahmed Khan
 ICC chief prosecutor Karim Ahmed Khan has said the investigation is ongoing. 

On November 17, 2023, ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan said his office had received a referral from five countries to investigate whether crimes have been committed by Israel in the Palestinian Occupied Territories since October 7.

On that date, Hamas attacked Israel, resulting in the deaths of 1200 people with almost 240 taken hostage, according to the UN citing reports from Israeli authorities.

Israel’s subsequent attacks have resulted in the deaths of 21,100 people in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, and 300 people in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to the UN

The UN also says almost 1.9 million people have been displaced across Gaza since October 7.

In his November 17 statement, Khan noted his office was already investigating the situation in the Palestinian territories over possible crimes committed since June 2014 in Gaza and the West Bank.

However, the ICC is still investigating and hasn’t accused or charged Israel with any crimes related to the 2023 hostilities as of December 29.

The Verdict

The claim that the Israeli prime minister has used a broadcast to rail against the International Criminal Court (ICC) after the body accused his country of war crimes during the 2023 conflict in Gaza is false.

His speech criticising the ICC was made in February 2021 after the court ruled it had jurisdiction to probe war crimes cases in the Palestinian Occupied Territories since 2014.

While ICC prosecutors are investigating the 2023 conflict as part of that probe, they haven’t accused or charged Israel with any crimes.  

False — The claim is inaccurate.

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