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


When It Comes to Peace with Israel, Many Saudis Have Religious Concerns

Sept. 22 2023

While roughly a third of Saudis are willing to cooperate with the Jewish state in matters of technology and commerce, far fewer are willing to allow Israeli teams to compete within the kingdom—let alone support diplomatic normalization. These are just a few results of a recent, detailed, and professional opinion survey—a rarity in Saudi Arabia—that has much bearing on current negotiations involving Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh. David Pollock notes some others:

When asked about possible factors “in considering whether or not Saudi Arabia should establish official relations with Israel,” the Saudi public opts first for an Islamic—rather than a specifically Saudi—agenda: almost half (46 percent) say it would be “important” to obtain “new Israeli guarantees of Muslim rights at al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif [i.e., the Temple Mount] in Jerusalem.” Prioritizing this issue is significantly more popular than any other option offered. . . .

This popular focus on religion is in line with responses to other controversial questions in the survey. Exactly the same percentage, for example, feel “strongly” that “our country should cut off all relations with any other country where anybody hurts the Quran.”

By comparison, Palestinian aspirations come in second place in Saudi popular perceptions of a deal with Israel. Thirty-six percent of the Saudi public say it would be “important” to obtain “new steps toward political rights and better economic opportunities for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Far behind these drivers in popular attitudes, surprisingly, are hypothetical American contributions to a Saudi-Israel deal—even though these have reportedly been under heavy discussion at the official level in recent months.

Therefore, based on this analysis of these new survey findings, all three governments involved in a possible trilateral U.S.-Saudi-Israel deal would be well advised to pay at least as much attention to its religious dimension as to its political, security, and economic ones.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Islam, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, Temple Mount