Should Israel Fear Palestinian Lawfare?

Yes, argues Robert Nicholson. The fact that the International Criminal Court is unlikely to succeed in prosecuting imagined Israeli crimes is irrelevant. The Palestinian lawfare campaign can achieve its ends even without achieving its desired verdicts. Nicholson writes:

Form is more important than substance in the lawfare strategy. It’s not necessary that litigants present strong arguments or even win cases. What’s important is that they appear outnumbered and heroic, adhere to lofty vocabulary, and use the court’s noble reputation to delegitimize their opponent in the eyes of the world. . . .

If everyone in the global audience appreciated the cynicism behind this strategy, lawfare would not be so worrisome. But well-meaning people are easily fooled by headlines of “war crimes” and “ethnic cleansing” and don’t have the time or legal training to investigate the facts. Shaking their heads in disbelief, they walk away with just one thought: Israel is a flagrant human-rights abuser that needs to be punished—international law says so. And here lies the crux of the problem: lawfare uses a façade of morality to conceal and advance a subversive political agenda. Worst of all, good people can’t see past the façade.

Read more at Philos Project

More about: ICC, Lawfare, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinians

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy