Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) condemned remarks by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier that the International Criminal Court had no jurisdiction to investigate Israeli regime war crimes as clear support for hostile policies against the Palestinian people.

Iran PressMiddle East: A spokesman for Hamas Hazem Qasim said, "Steinmeier's remarks violate international law and are clear support for the Israeli occupation regime and its hostile policies against the Palestinian people. Such statements encourage the occupying regime to continue its war crimes and aggressions against innocent Palestinian people and make it consider itself above international law."

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs described the German official's remarks as a "departure from the rules of international law" and an "interference with the ICC's work and decisions".

Steinmeier told Israeli Haaretz newspaper yesterday that his country considers that the ICC has no jurisdiction to investigate Israel because there is no "Palestinian state".

In its response, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said: "The status of the State of Palestine at the international level as a state with all rights and duties, is not subject to the German president or his country's opinion."

The ministry called on the German minister to stop granting "Israel impunity from accountability and punishment, and considering it a state above the law."

The ICC announced in March that it was opening an investigation into war crimes committed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories.

A statement issued by the office of the former Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that the investigation will cover crimes committed since 13 June 2014 in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip, and eastern Jerusalem al Quds.