The International Criminal Court’s Recent Moves against Israel Expose Its Bias

While Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), was initially reluctant to launch proceedings against the Jewish state, she has since given in to pressure from the judges themselves and laid the legal groundwork for a formal investigation. This week, Bensouda responded to objections—raised by Germany, Australia, Uganda, and other countries—that the court has no jurisdiction in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Richard Kemp explains:

The court’s founding Rome Statute allows investigations only within the sovereign territories of state parties to the treaty. But the prosecutor has unlawfully accepted delegated jurisdiction over the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and Gaza from what she calls the “State of Palestine.” Palestine is not a state and never has been. . . . Israel, [moreover], is not a state party to the court.

Beyond this narrow legal problem, important though it might be, lies a much broader one:

The ICC was not established to replace national judicial systems but to complement them—to act only where states themselves lack the capability or will to conduct their own investigations and prosecutions. Israel has a long-established and internationally respected legal system, with a record of investigating and bringing charges against those accused of war crimes, which renders the court’s process inadmissible.

As some of us foresaw from the start, the ICC has twisted itself into a political court rather than a serious legal body. Its notorious obsession with Israel is only part of the problem. Following accusations that the court was biased against African states, which led South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia to threaten withdrawal, the ICC has tried to deflect criticism by focusing on Western liberal democracies, alleging large-scale war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq by the U.S. and UK.

This makes the ICC an instrument of “lawfare,” intended to weaponize legal processes to deter or hamper law-abiding Western liberal democracies from fighting to defend themselves, and to undermine their core values.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: ICC, International Law, Israeli Security, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict