How Israel Can Fight Back against the International Criminal Court

March 5 2021

On Wednesday, the International Criminal Court (ICC)—following a highly dubious ruling extending its jurisdiction to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip—announced that it will launch an investigation into supposed war crimes committed in those territories since 2014. Given the way in which the body has handled this issue so far, Jerusalem can expect the resulting proceedings to pay little attention to either law or fact. Amnon Lord argues that the Jewish state must respond not by trying to prove its innocence legally, but by going on the diplomatic offensive:

If legal officials do have a role [in responding to the investigation], from this point forward it should be in preparing the legal tools to buttress the political fight on the international stage. This means that . . . the relevant legal experts must prepare cases exhibiting the despicable record of senior Palestinian Authority officials who had a hand in terror. These cases need to be exposed in the international arena and the media. Beyond this, Israel must not cooperate with the ICC, whose authority it doesn’t recognize and of which it isn’t a member.

We mustn’t repeat the mistake of a few years ago when Israel allowed ICC officials into the country to explain Israel’s position on the matter. The ICC, in any event, apparently won’t require any investigations on the ground. Palestinian and Israeli or international organizations, or the Palestinian Authority itself, can submit material to the ICC.

[W]hen the indictments do arrive, . . . the accused individuals will never appear before the court, and it won’t be possible to try them in absentia. The movement of Israeli officials in certain countries will become a permanent hassle, but a tolerable one. What will happen is that the process will open the gates of endless persecution by the international left, the Palestinians, and their helpers in Israel. Anti-Semitism will rise, and along with it Israelis’ sense of being under siege.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: ICC, Israel diplomacy, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


When It Comes to Peace with Israel, Many Saudis Have Religious Concerns

Sept. 22 2023

While roughly a third of Saudis are willing to cooperate with the Jewish state in matters of technology and commerce, far fewer are willing to allow Israeli teams to compete within the kingdom—let alone support diplomatic normalization. These are just a few results of a recent, detailed, and professional opinion survey—a rarity in Saudi Arabia—that has much bearing on current negotiations involving Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh. David Pollock notes some others:

When asked about possible factors “in considering whether or not Saudi Arabia should establish official relations with Israel,” the Saudi public opts first for an Islamic—rather than a specifically Saudi—agenda: almost half (46 percent) say it would be “important” to obtain “new Israeli guarantees of Muslim rights at al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif [i.e., the Temple Mount] in Jerusalem.” Prioritizing this issue is significantly more popular than any other option offered. . . .

This popular focus on religion is in line with responses to other controversial questions in the survey. Exactly the same percentage, for example, feel “strongly” that “our country should cut off all relations with any other country where anybody hurts the Quran.”

By comparison, Palestinian aspirations come in second place in Saudi popular perceptions of a deal with Israel. Thirty-six percent of the Saudi public say it would be “important” to obtain “new steps toward political rights and better economic opportunities for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Far behind these drivers in popular attitudes, surprisingly, are hypothetical American contributions to a Saudi-Israel deal—even though these have reportedly been under heavy discussion at the official level in recent months.

Therefore, based on this analysis of these new survey findings, all three governments involved in a possible trilateral U.S.-Saudi-Israel deal would be well advised to pay at least as much attention to its religious dimension as to its political, security, and economic ones.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Islam, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, Temple Mount