The UN Resolution on Israel Opens the Door for Legal Warfare

UN Security Council resolution 2334, declaring Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Golan, and much of Jerusalem illegal, was adopted under Chapter VI rather than Chapter VII of the UN Charter, and hence is not legally binding. Nonetheless, argues Orde F. Kittrie, it invites “lawfare” against the Jewish state in both the International Criminal Court (ICC) and European courts:

The ICC can only convict individual persons, not states. . . . Thus, while it is hard to imagine Israel’s leadership being prosecuted for, say, an aggressive mid-level IDF officer’s unauthorized actions in Gaza, ICC prosecutions of Israelis responsible for settlement policy will almost certainly go right to the Israeli prime minister. Resolution 2334 makes such prosecutions somewhat more likely. . . .

[In addition], foreign prosecutors and courts (especially in Europe) have been increasingly willing to entertain legal actions against companies alleged to have done settlement-related business on the basis of international organizations’ advisory and non-binding conclusions that Israeli settlements violate international law. . . . While language similar to that of resolution 2334 appeared in resolution 446 and resolution 465 [passed in 1979 and 1980, respectively], resolution 2334 facilitates lawfare in European and other national courts by lending such statements currency and urgency, thereby making it much harder to dismiss them as “old news” passed many years ago.

The national law of many UN member states is such that their governments need or prefer an international-law requirement or “hook” before imposing sanctions on a foreign government or entity. . . . [I]n many countries, a non-binding provision in a UN Security Council resolution that “calls” for a response can be a sufficient hook for action if the government chooses to use it.

Furthermore, writes Kittrie, such moves at the ICC could be used as precedent for equally spurious prosecutions aimed at the U.S. military. He therefore urges the Trump administration to take action:

[M]ore than half of the ICC’s $158-million annual budget comes from its top seven donor countries, all of which happen to be close U.S. allies—Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Spain, and Canada. All of these allies are either NATO partners or depend heavily on a U.S. defensive umbrella. . . . Since the ICC is reportedly already financially stretched, a quiet threatened withdrawal of funds by some or all of the court’s key donors might have a significant effect.

Read more at Lawfare

More about: BDS, International Law, Israel & Zionism, Lawfare, U.S. Foreign policy, United Nations

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy