Israel Needs a New Strategy for Dealing with the International Criminal Court

Dec. 26 2019

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.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza War, ICC, International Law, Settlements

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism