Israel is reportedly preparing a secret list of military and intelligence officials who might be vulnerable to arrest abroad if the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague opens an investigation into Israeli war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.
According to Haaretz website, this list now includes between 200 and 300 officials, some of whom have not been informed.
The ICC is expected to rule soon on whether to approve the request by ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to investigate Israel over suspicions of war crimes in the territories beginning in 2014, the year of when Israel launched an all-out war on Gaza.
Experts in international law believe that officials and decision-makers involved in incidents that began with the war in Gaza that summer would be the first to face the court’s scrutiny.
They include Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu, former war ministers Moshe Ya’alon, Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett, former army chiefs of staff Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, current chief of staff Aviv Kochavi, and the former and current heads of the Shin Bet security service, Yoram Cohen and Nadav Argaman.
But the length of the list shows that it includes people in much more junior positions, including lower-ranking military officers and perhaps even officials involved in issuing various types of permits to settlements and settlement outposts, since the issue of Jewish settlement in the occupied territories is also within the scope of the requested investigation.