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.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: ICC, International Law, Palestinian statehood

 

Why an Arab Party Is the Real Winner of the Israeli Election

Nov. 29 2022

Although Mansour Abbas’s Islamic Ra’am party won only five seats in the new Knesset, Ofir Haivry argues that his victory is, in the long run, more significant even than Benjamin Netanyahu’s:

At first glance [Abbas’s] achievement could be overlooked: with 195,000 votes, Ra’am won five seats in the Knesset, the same number as the joint Ḥadash (Communists) and Ta’al (Arab Movement for Renewal) list, which together received 180,000 votes. Balad, [a third Arab party], didn’t pass the electoral threshold. . . . In other words, Ra’am received some 40 percent of the votes for Arab parties, and the remaining 60 percent were divided between the three other parties. The significance of the numbers is that Ra’am, by quite a margin, is the largest Arab party, and the only one that passed the electoral threshold on its own.

Its success comes in the wake of the move taken by Abbas after the 2021 elections—a move that was controversial in the Arab sector—when he declared his willingness to be a partner in a coalition with Zionist parties and held negotiations both with Netanyahu and the opposing camp. In the end, Abbas joined forces with the Bennett-Lapid coalition in the face of stern opposition within the Arab sector and even within his party.

The Arab electorate didn’t reject the move but rewarded him with its votes, which gave Ra’am the status of the largest Arab party and crowned Abbas as the leader of the sector. The results were not just a reward for a political maneuver. They also broke a 40-year veto that the Arab parties had imposed on any real cooperation with the Zionist parties.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Israeli Arabs, Israeli Election 2022, Israeli politics, Mansour Abbas