The ICC’s Israel Decision Is Bad for Everyone but Mahmoud Abbas and His Cronies

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.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: ICC, International Law, Mahmoud Abbas, U.S. Foreign policy, United Kingdom

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security