Why the International Criminal Court Should Stay Out of the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Jan. 14 2021

Last spring, the International Criminal Court (ICC) determined that it has jurisdiction over Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and part of Jerusalem, although Israel is not a party to the Rome Statue that created the court, and although the “state of Palestine,” which has brought the underlying complaint, does not exist. Another ICC report calls for a full investigation of the Jewish state. Nicholas Rostow explains why nothing good will come from these cases, or from the court’s inevitable decision to involve itself further in the prosecution of Israeli leaders and soldiers:

Palestinian statehood and territory are among the most important, undecided questions to be determined by agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. If the ICC concludes that it has jurisdiction over Israeli actions, then the court would find itself embroiled in one of today’s longest running and most difficult conflicts. The consequences are not foreseeable, except to say that they will be serious and severe.

If the ICC takes up the question of whether aggression has occurred, it will be looking at high-level government decisions, not simply troops engaged in combat (although getting to the bottom of what exactly happens in battle is no easy task). It also will be making a determination of where Israel’s boundaries lie.

And unlike the U.S., which may also face a spurious ICC investigation, Israel cannot impose severe costs on those who would prosecute its citizens. Moreover, writes Rostow, the underlying premise of the investigation is even more wrongheaded:

In the nearly twenty years of its existence, the ICC has not persuaded the world’s most powerful states to join the Rome Statute. Their position has little to do with their view of accountability or ending cultures of “impunity,” a favorite term in UN circles. Their concern has to do with the inescapable political character of decisions about jurisdiction and a desire to protect themselves from unwanted intrusions into their national affairs.

We must anticipate that the ICC will decide to exercise jurisdiction over actions by Israel and the United States as requested by the Palestinians and the Afghan government, respectively. It is unlikely that Americans will suffer as a result. It is entirely likely, however, that Israel, already subject to constant questioning of its legitimacy as a state, will face even greater difficulty than it does presently to reach peace with the Palestinian Authority. The ICC cannot contribute to the achievement of that goal.

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Read more at Justice

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

 

Will Costco Go to Israel?

Social-media users have mocked this week new Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich for a poorly translated letter. But far more interesting than the finance minister’s use of Google Translate (or some such technology) is what the letter reveals about the Jewish state. In it, Smotrich asks none other than Costco to consider opening stores in Israel.

Why?

Israel, reports Sharon Wrobel, has one of the highest costs of living of any country in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

This

has been generally attributed to a lack of competition among local importers and manufacturers. The top three local supermarket chains account for over half of the food retail market, limiting competition and putting upward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, import tariffs, value-added tax costs and kosher restrictions have been keeping out international retail chains.

Is the move likely to happen?

“We do see a recent trend of international retailers entering the Israeli market as some barriers to food imports from abroad have been eased,” Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Israel accounting firm, told The Times of Israel. “The purchasing power and technology used by big global retailers for logistics and in the area of online sales where Israel has been lagging behind could lead to a potential shift in the market and more competitive prices.”

Still, the same economist noted that in Israel “the cost of real estate and other costs such as the VAT on fruit and vegetables means that big retailers such as Costco may not be able to offer the same competitive prices than in other places.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Costco, Israel & Zionism