RAMALLAH, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Palestine on Wednesday welcomed the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to investigate alleged crimes committed by Israel in the Palestinian territories.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said his country welcomed the ICC decision to "proceed with the investigation of Israeli crimes in a long-awaited step to achieve justice for the Palestinians."
"We hope for serious work at the international level to provide justice to the Palestinian victims," al-Maliki said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Islamic Hamas movement also hailed the ICC decision.
Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip Hazem Qassem said in an emailed press statement that Hamas welcomes the decision of the ICC prosecutor to open an investigation into crimes committed against the Palestinians.
"The decision is a step forward to punish the (Israeli) occupation's leaders who perpetrated war crimes against our people," Qassem said.
"Hamas calls on the ICC to resist any possible pressure to prevent it from completing the path of achieving justice and applying international law," he said.
Earlier on Wednesday, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced she was launching a probe into alleged crimes committed by Israel in the Palestinian territories.
"The investigation will cover crimes within the jurisdiction of the court that are alleged to have been committed in the situation since June 13, 2014, the date to which reference is made in the referral of the situation to my office," she said in a statement.
She added the probe will be conducted "independently, impartially and objectively without fear or favor."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday condemned the ICC's war crimes investigation into Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories, accusing the court of "hypocrisy and anti-Semitism" and vowing to "fight for the truth."
In 2019, Bensouda said there was a "reasonable basis" to open a war crimes probe into Israeli military actions in the Gaza Strip as well as Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.