How Israel Can Fight Back against the International Criminal Court

One need not be an expert in international law to see the absurdity of the ICC prosecutor’s determination that the leaders of Hamas and the leaders of Israel are equally guilty of war crimes. It takes only a little more knowledge to understand that the court has no jurisdiction over Israel, which is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty. In a careful analysis, Avraham Russell Shalev outlines some of the many legal holes in this case, and observes that the problems are inherent in the court itself:

A review of the ICC’s relationship towards Israel over its two decades of existence demonstrates a fundamental bias and double standard toward the Jewish state. This bias is not a function of any specific prosecutor. Rather, it is an institutional feature, found even in the Rome Statute. . . . Israel initially refused to sign the Rome Statute as it became apparent that the Arab states had politicized the Rome Conference and introduced language that departed from existing international law specifically to criminalize Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Therefore, argues Shalev, Jerusalem should deal with the case against it not as a legal problem, to which it would respond by dispatching lawyers to make carefully reasoned arguments, but as a political and diplomatic one. More specifically, he contends that

collaboration with the ICC will not reduce the very high chances of arrest warrants being issued against Israeli officials, but will give those charges great weight and legitimacy when they come. Instead, Israel must adopt a policy of non-cooperation and even offense.

And what does a policy of offense entail?

Israel has repeatedly stated that it does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction. Therefore, any legal proceedings are completely illegitimate and as such, the various legal bodies—the attorney general, the Justice Ministry’s International Affairs Office, the Foreign Ministry’s legal advisors, and the Military Advocate General’s International Law Department—will no longer communicate with the ICC. [In addition], the Knesset must pass legislation modeled on the American Service-Member’s Protection Act. This legislation would bar any government agency from cooperating with the ICC without a government decision.

While Israel has never accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has willingly accepted it. The court can hardly turn around now and deny jurisdiction to avoid prosecuting Palestinian crimes. . . . Palestinian nationals, acting on behalf of Hamas, Fatah, and other terrorist organizations, and with no affiliation, have carried out serious war crimes against Israelis and Palestinians. Israel must publicly demand that the ICC issue indictments against them.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: ICC, International Law

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy