By Claiming Jurisdiction over Israel, the International Criminal Court Makes a Mockery of Its Mission

On Friday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled that its jurisdiction extends over the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and eastern Jerusalem—despite the fact that Israel is not a member of the court. To provide a logical framework for the decision, the court created the legal fiction of a Palestinian state with borders corresponding to the territory seized by Egypt and Jordan during their invasion of Mandatory Palestine in 1948. This ruling makes it possible for the court’s prosecutor to continue with an investigation into her claims of a “reasonable basis to believe” that Israel committed “war crimes” while responding to murderous attacks from Gaza, and by allowing Jewish citizens to live in the West Bank. Alan Baker comments:

What was intended to be an independent juridical body devoted to preventing the impunity enjoyed by the most serious and atrocious war criminals, by bringing them to justice, is now being politically manipulated against the one state that since the early 1950s has consistently advocated the establishment of such a body, the state of Israel.

The irony is all the more evident given the legal acrobatics of the politically oriented and politically influenced prosecutor of the court, and the majority of judges of the [court’s] pretrial chamber, in their obstinate and flawed insistence on attributing elements of statehood and sovereignty to a Palestinian entity that is distinctly—legally, politically, and by all international standards—not a state.

[Because it] is not a state, then it cannot claim to have any sovereign territory, and thus, even according to the statute of the ICC, which is open to states only, it cannot be the subject of the court’s jurisdiction. Thus the Palestinians have absolutely no standing in the court. This decision by the pretrial chamber to accept the contention of the prosecutor, based purely on nonbinding, non-legal, and unauthoritative political resolutions of the UN General Assembly, defies all legal logic.

[Thus] the court is permitting itself to become irreparably prejudiced. Any juridical integrity, credibility, and bona fides that it might have had are being irreparably harmed.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: ICC, International Law, Palestinian statehood

 

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy