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

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.

Read more at JNS

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

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security