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.

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Read more at Philos Project

More about: ICC, Lawfare, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinians

What Israel Can Offer Africa

Last week, the Israeli analyst Yechiel Leiter addressed a group of scholars and diplomats gathered in Addis Ababa to discuss security issues facing the Horn of Africa. Herewith, some excerpts from his speech:

Since the advent of Zionism and the birth of modern Israel, there has been a strong ideological connection between Israel and the African continent. . . . For decades, [however], the notion that the absence of peace in the Middle East was due the absence of Palestinian statehood prevented a full and strategic partnership with African countries. . . . The visits to Africa by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—in 2016 to East Africa and in 2017 to West Africa—reenergized the natural partnership that was initiated by Israel’s Foreign Minister Golda Meir in the 1960s.

There is much we share, many places where our interests converge. And I don’t mean another military base in Djibouti. . . . One such area involves the safety of waterways in and around the Red Sea. Curtailing contraband, drugs, arms smuggling, and other forms of serious corruption are all vital for us. . . . But the one critical area of cooperation I’d like to put the spotlight on is in the realm of food security, or rather food insecurity.

Imagine Ethiopia’s cows producing 30 or 40 liters of milk a day instead of the two or three that they produce today. Imagine an exponential rise in (organic) meat exports to Middle Eastern and even European countries, the result of increased processing, storage, and transportation possibilities. Cows today can have a microscopic chip behind their ears that sends messages to the farmer’s computer or mobile phone that tracks what the cow ate, what its temperature is, and what care it might need. Imagine a dramatic expansion of the wheat yield that can make Ethiopia a net exporter of wheat—to Egypt, perhaps in the context of negotiations over the waters of the Nile.

Israel has proven technology in all of these agricultural areas and we’re here; we’re neighbors. We are linked to Africa, particularly the Horn of Africa, in so many ways.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Africa, Ethiopia, Israel diplomacy, Israeli agriculture, Israeli technology