The PLO Remains a Terrorist Organization

This week, J Street—the American “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobbying group—held its annual conference, which featured among its speakers the Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas. In his address, Abbas emphasized the importance of revoking the 1987 Anti-Terrorism Act, which designates the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), of which he is the chairman, as a terrorist group. The blogger who writes under the name Elder of Ziyon sees no reason to change the law:

One of the proofs of the PLO’s terrorist nature [cited in the act’s text] is its 1968 charter, which says (among other things) that “armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine, thus it is an overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase.” The 1968 PLO charter . . . is still in force. It is shown on PLO websites today without any caveat or indication that it has been superseded.

An analysis by Heba Baydoun [on the Arabic-language Palestinian news website] Maan last year looked at this exact question and concluded that the supposed vote to change the charter held in front of Bill Clinton in 1998 was all a show and had no legal force. . . . If you look at the list of official meetings of [of the PLO’s governing] council, it isn’t listed—it happened between the 21st (1996) and 22nd (2009) meetings. . . . Unlike official meetings, there was no opening session, no count of a quorum; many of the attendees who “voted” were not members of the council. . . . It was political theatre to fool the U.S. into thinking that the charter was changed. The show-of-hands vote was purely symbolic.

Moreover, if the charter had been amended and the offending terrorist sections removed, where is the new charter? It has never been published. Because it doesn’t exist.

Read more at Elder of Ziyon

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, J Street, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian terror, PLO


The ICJ’s Vice-President Explains What’s Wrong with Its Recent Ruling against Israel

It should be obvious to anyone with even rudimentary knowledge of the Gaza war that Israel is not committing genocide there, or anything even remotely akin to it. In response to such spurious accusations, it’s often best to focus on the mockery they make of international law itself, or on how Israel can most effectively combat them. Still, it is also worth stopping to consider the legal case on its own terms. No one has done this quite so effectively, to my knowledge, as the Ugandan jurist Julia Sebutinde, who is the vice-president of the ICJ and the only one of its judges to rule unequivocally in Israel’s favor both in this case and in the previous one where it found accusations of genocide “plausible.”

Sebutinde begins by questioning the appropriateness of the court ruling on this issue at all:

Once again, South Africa has invited the Court to micromanage the conduct of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Such hostilities are exclusively governed by the laws of war (international humanitarian law) and international human-rights law, areas where the Court lacks jurisdiction in this case.

The Court should also avoid trying to enforce its own orders. . . . Is the Court going to reaffirm its earlier provisional measures every time a party runs to it with allegations of a breach of its provisional measures? I should think not.

Sebutinde also emphasizes the absurdity of hearing this case after Israel has taken “multiple concrete actions” to alleviate the suffering of Gazan civilians since the ICJ’s last ruling. In fact, she points out, “the evidence actually shows a gradual improvement in the humanitarian situation in Gaza since the Court’s order.” She brings much evidence in support of these points.

She concludes her dissent by highlighting the procedural irregularities of the case, including a complete failure to respect the basic rights of the accused:

I find it necessary to note my serious concerns regarding the manner in which South Africa’s request and incidental oral hearings were managed by the Court, resulting in Israel not having sufficient time to file its written observations on the request. In my view, the Court should have consented to Israel’s request to postpone the oral hearings to the following week to allow for Israel to have sufficient time to fully respond to South Africa’s request and engage counsel. Regrettably, as a result of the exceptionally abbreviated timeframe for the hearings, Israel could not be represented by its chosen counsel, who were unavailable on the dates scheduled by the Court.

It is also regrettable that Israel was required to respond to a question posed by a member of the Court over the Jewish Sabbath. The Court’s decisions in this respect bear upon the procedural equality between the parties and the good administration of justice by the Court.

Read more at International Court of Justice

More about: Gaza War 2023, ICC, International Law