Israel Should Prepare to Strike Back if the ICC Recognizes a Palestinian State

In December, Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), issued a 120-page brief arguing that the court should consider the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and parts of Jerusalem as the already extant “state of Palestine”—as a precursor to trying Israel for committing crimes against humanity there. Maurice Hirsch comments:

In order to invent a state that does not exist, and has never existed, Bensouda needed to complete a complex puzzle. On the one hand, she had to negate or ignore critical documents that designated for Israel all the areas she now claims to be part of the “state of Palestine.” These documents include the Balfour Declaration, the decisions made by the allied forces in San Remo following World War I, and the League of Nations mandate for Palestine. All these documents reaffirmed the historic connection of the Jewish people to the area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea and granted that area to the Jewish people for its future state.

On the other hand, she needed to discount . . . the Arab rejection of the [1947] UN Partition Plan, turn the 1948-9 armistice lines—which the Arab leaders demanded never be seen as borders—into borders, and negate clear provisions of the Oslo Accords that specifically deny the Palestinian Authority state status. These acrobatics were possible because the proceedings against Israel are not founded in either fact or law, but are entirely politically motivated.

Hirsch urges Jerusalem to discourage the ICC from making such a decision by holding the United Nations—which has some authority over the court, and has long cultivated the irrational and legally incoherent treatment of Israel that Bensouda has endorsed—responsible:

Israel should carry out a political preemptive strike by informing the United Nations that should the ICC decide to invent “Palestine,” all UN staff in Israel will be declared personae non gratae. First on that list would be the UN secretary-general’s special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, who recently called for “Palestinian unity” against Israel. While this call may seem innocuous to some, in practice Mladenov called for Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud . . . to join hands with the internationally recognized terror organization Hamas.

Next, Israel should demand that the UN immediately vacate the Governor’s Palace compound in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood. The compound is home to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, the UN force created to monitor the 1949 armistice lines. If the ICC invents [a Palestinian state] and sets its borders, thereby nullifying the armistice agreements, there is no need whatsoever for this UN force to remain in Israel.

Read more at JNS

More about: ICC, International Law, Israel diplomacy, United Nations

Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria