Threats and Secret Meetings: The Guardian Exposes Mossad’s Crimes with the International Criminal Court

The British newspaper “The Guardian” revealed that the former head of Mossad threatened the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in a series of secret meetings in an attempt to pressure her to abandon the investigation into war crimes.

Secret Communications

According to the newspaper, the secret communications conducted by Yossi Cohen with the then-Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, took place in the years leading up to her decision to open an official investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The newspaper continued, stating that this investigation, which began in 2021, reached its peak last week when Bensouda’s successor, Karim Khan, announced that he was seeking to issue an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concerning the country’s conduct in its war on Gaza.

The newspaper added that the decision made by the Chief Prosecutor to submit a request to the ICC‘s Pre-Trial Chamber to issue arrest warrants for Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, along with three Hamas leaders, is an outcome that the Israeli military and political establishment has long feared.

Israeli Threats

According to the British newspaper, Cohen was personally involved in the operation against the ICC during his tenure as Mossad director. His activities were authorized at a high level and justified on the grounds that the court posed a threat of prosecuting military personnel, according to a senior Israeli official.

Another Israeli source familiar with the operation against Bensouda said that Mossad’s goal was to endanger the Chief Prosecutor or recruit her as someone who cooperates with Israel’s demands.

A third source familiar with the operation said that Cohen acted as an “unofficial envoy” for Netanyahu.

The newspaper added that Cohen, who was one of Netanyahu‘s closest allies at the time and who is emerging as a political force in his own right in Israel, personally led Mossad’s involvement in a nearly decade-long campaign to undermine the court.

Four sources confirmed that Bensouda informed a small group of senior ICC officials about Cohen’s attempts to influence her, amid concerns about the increasingly threatening nature of his behavior.

Three of these sources were aware of Bensouda’s official disclosures to the ICC on this matter and said that she revealed that Cohen had pressured her on multiple occasions not to proceed with a criminal investigation into the Palestine case before the ICC.

Dirty Tactics

According to accounts shared with ICC officials, it is alleged that Cohen told her, “You should help us and let us take care of you. You don’t want to get involved in things that could endanger your safety or that of your family.”

One person familiar with Cohen’s activities said that he used “dirty tactics” against Bensouda as part of an ultimately unsuccessful effort to intimidate and influence her, likening his behavior to “stalking.”

Mossad also showed great interest in Bensouda’s family members and obtained copies of secret recordings of her husband, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the situation. Israeli officials then attempted to use this material to discredit the Chief Prosecutor.

The information revealed about Cohen’s operation is part of an upcoming investigation by The Guardian, the Israeli-Palestinian magazine +972, and the Hebrew-language magazine Local Call, which exposes how multiple Israeli intelligence agencies waged a secret “war” against the ICC for nearly a decade.

The revelation of Mossad’s efforts to influence Bensouda comes as the current Chief Prosecutor, Karim Khan, warned in recent days that he will not hesitate to prosecute attempts to obstruct, intimidate, or improperly influence ICC officials.

According to legal experts and former ICC officials, Mossad’s efforts to threaten or pressure Bensouda could amount to crimes against the administration of justice.

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