On Friday, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, announced that she is formally investigating war crimes allegedly committed by the Jewish state (a) during the 2014 Gaza war, (b) in its efforts to defend itself from the cross-border attacks from Gaza during the past two years, and (c) in allowing Jews to live in the West Bank. Bensouda also intends to investigate the possibility that Hamas committed war crimes of its own in 2014. Avi Bell writes:
Bensouda . . . has already adopted doubtful legal arguments made by the Palestinians that the Palestinian Authority comprises a state; that all parts of Israel that were under illegal occupation by Jordan and Egypt from 1948 to 1967—including the Old City of Jerusalem—belong to the [putative] state of Palestine; that Jewish settlements are a crime under international law; and that IDF soldiers are war criminals. Therefore, we already know what the results of the “investigation” will be and what “evidence” will be collected.
Just two weeks ago, the media reported that high-ranking legal scholars in the [Israeli] attorney general’s office had warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to take steps to apply Israeli law to the Jordan Valley, out of concern that the ICC would decide to launch an investigation against Israelis for that “crime,” too. Even at the time, it was obvious to anyone who keeps tabs on the ICC that there would be an investigation against Israel regardless of whether sovereignty was applied to the Jordan Valley. The legal advisers’ warning not only demonstrated a total lack of understanding of the ICC but also gave the court more motivation to act against Israel by supplying it with . . . proof that it is changing how a state conducts itself by its threats of legal action.
So long as Israel continues to treat the ICC as a legal entity, so long as it maintains relations with ICC staff under the assumption that their intentions are good, so long as Israel continues to make legal arguments as if anyone in the ICC is listening, it will continue to lose the battle. [Israel] must wake up and take more stringent political steps, as the U.S. already has, before . . . indictments against IDF soldiers become a reality.