No, Israel Does Not Occupy Gaza

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) recently declined to pursue a case against Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. She did, however, issue a lengthy nonbinding statement arguing that it is “reasonable” to believe that Israel occupies Gaza, although it has no troops or officials there. Since the opinion makes a mockery of legal reasoning and relevant precedent, what is its basis? Eugene Kontorovich writes:

[T]he prosecutor astonishingly relies on the view of “the international community” that Gaza is occupied. This view is derived from two UN General Assembly (GA) resolutions that call Gaza part of “Occupied Palestinian Territories” without explaining how this comports with customary international-law definitions of occupation. This is perhaps the most surprising part of the prosecutor’s memo. The GA is an explicitly political body. Occupation is a legal status with a legal definition established by treaty and custom. Deferring to a political body to determine a legal question effectively turns the ICC into an adjunct of world opinion—a political popularity contest rather than an arbiter of impartial and general norms.

Read more at Washington Post

More about: Gaza Strip, ICC, International Law, UN

Despite the Toll of War at Home and Rising Hostility Abroad, Investors Are Still Choosing Israel

When I first saw news that Google wasn’t going through with its acquisition of the tech startup Wiz, I was afraid hesitancy over its Israeli founders and close ties with the Jewish state might have something to do with it. I couldn’t have been more wrong: the deal is off not because of Google’s hesitancy, but because Wiz feared the FTC would slow down the process with uncertain results. The company is instead planning an initial public offering. In the wake of the CrowdStrike debacle, companies like Wiz have every reason to be optimistic, as Sophie Shulman explains:

For the Israeli cyber sector, CrowdStrike’s troubles are an opportunity. CrowdStrike is a major competitor to Palo Alto Networks, and both companies aim to provide comprehensive cyber defense platforms. The specific issue that caused the global Windows computer shutdown is related to their endpoint protection product, an area where they compete with Palo Alto’s Cortex products developed in Israel and the SentinelOne platform.

Friday’s drop in CrowdStrike shares reflects investor frustration and the expectation that potential customers will now turn to competitors, strengthening the position of Israeli companies. This situation may renew interest in smaller startups and local procurement in Israel, given how many institutions were affected by the CrowdStrike debacle.

Indeed, it seems that votes of confidence in Israeli technology are coming from many directions, despite the drop in the Tel Aviv stock exchange following the attack from Yemen, and despite the fact that some 46,000 Israeli businesses have closed their doors since October 7. Tel Aviv-based Cyabra, which creates software that identifies fake news, plans a $70 million IPO on Nasdaq. The American firm Applied Systems announced that it will be buying a different Israeli tech startup and opening a research-and-development center in Israel. And yet another cybersecurity startup, founded by veterans of the IDF’s elite 8200 unit, came on the scene with $33 million in funding. And those are the stories from this week alone.

But it’s not only the high-tech sector that’s attracting foreign investment. The UK-based firm Energean plans to put approximately $1.2 billion into developing a so-far untapped natural-gas field in Israel’s coastal waters. Money speaks much louder than words, and it seems Western businesses don’t expect Israel to become a global pariah, or to collapse in the face of its enemies, anytime soon.

Read more at Calcalist

More about: cybersecurity, Israeli economy, Israeli gas, Israeli technology, Start-up nation