In a recent ruling extending its own jurisdiction on flimsy legal grounds, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has given its prosecutor a green light to pursue an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Hamas and the state of Israel—namely, the launching of rockets and explosive devices at civilians by the former and the building of houses by the latter. Richard Kemp puts the decision in context, and examines its implications:
The ICC has long had its sights on what it no doubt considers an unholy trinity: Israel, the U.S., and Britain. [The outgoing chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda], failed to get her way with the U.S. and the UK. . . . So for the time being, Israel remains the prize.
The effects of the ICC’s decision will be profound. This is only the end of the beginning. Unless halted, investigations into spurious allegations of war crimes will go on for years, perhaps decades, creating a global bonanza for all who hate Israel, [and will be] utilized to stir up hatred and violence against Israelis and Jews everywhere.
But the most detrimental effect of the ICC’s decision will be felt by the Palestinian people who, for decades, have been abused as political pawns by their leaders and who would be the greatest beneficiaries of any peace agreement with Israel. The ICC’s ruling makes such a deal even more remote today.
[There] was an opportunity for creative diplomacy by the Biden administration, [by], on the one hand, encouraging further progress through the Abraham Accords while on the other restoring ties with the Palestinians after their refusal of any relationship with the hated President Trump. . . . Enter the ICC pre-trial chamber, throwing a lifeline to [the Palestinian Authority president] Abbas.