The U.S. Is Right to Sanction the International Criminal Court

June 18 2020

Last week, the White House issued an executive order imposing sanctions and visa restrictions on anyone involved in efforts of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute or investigate American personnel. The order was a response to the court’s spurious accusation that the U.S. committed war crimes in Afghanistan. Given the ICC’s current plans to bring charges against Israel for allowing Jews to build homes in the West Bank, and for taking military action against Hamas in 2018 and 2019, James Sinkinson argues that Washington’s recent move not only strengthens an ally, but demonstrates that those who wish to harm Israel almost always wish to harm the United States as well. Moreover, Sinkinson writes, the decision to sanction the court is a decision to take a stand against lawlessness:

Let’s start with the essential purpose of the ICC, which was set up by the United Nations under the Rome Statute in 2002 to prosecute the most heinous international crimes in the absence of a national legal system capable of doing so. [First], neither the actions of the United States nor of Israel under consideration by the ICC even remotely rise to the level of “heinous.” But more importantly, few countries on earth have internal justice systems more rigorous than those of either country.

In addition, neither the United States nor Israel are members of the ICC, so technically neither is subject to ICC authority. In other words, since the court completely lacks legal jurisdiction in these matters, its only purpose can be [a political one].

[Worse still], the ICC’s case against the United States originated from two nonprofit advocacy groups—the International Federation of Human Rights and the Center for Constitutional Rights—related to the Palestinian NGOs that brought the complaint against Israel to the ICC. [These] Palestinian NGOs “maintain strong ties to the designated terror organizations Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” These organizations are certainly not friends of the United States or Israel.

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Read more at JNS

More about: ICC, International Law, Israeli foreign policy, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia