The agreement will prevent the automatic extradition of an Israeli or American citizen who is in the second country and whose extradition is requested by the international court's prosecutor. In such a case, the government of Israel or the U.S. will have to consent to the extradition request. The agreement is to be signed by U.S. Under Secretary of State John Bolton, who is visiting Israel, and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. It is based on section 98 of the International Criminal Court's charter, which places restrictions on the extradition of suspects to the Hague in cases where states have signed a restriction agreement. The U.S. and Israel signed the international court charter at the end of 2000, but decided not to ratify it and not join the charter as full members.
Israel has reservations about the ICC, fearing it will be used to condemn the settlements, and Israel Defense Forces operations in the territories. The Sharon government decided last month not to ratify the charter at all. Recently the U.S. turned to countries with which it has diplomatic relations and asked to sign a restriction agreement in order to limit chances that U.S. citizens who are overseas might be extradited to the Hague. The first such agreement was signed between the U.S. and Romania a few days ago. The Israel-U.S. accord will be the second such pact forged by the Americans. Israel will turn to other countries and ask to work out comparable extradition restriction agreements.